News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

SPRD has served Sisters for two decades

Many newer residents, and even some old-timers, may not know much about what the Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD) does, how it is funded, and where it came from.

SPRD is a special taxing district funded primarily by property taxes and program fees. Their service area spans the city of Sisters and surrounding Sisters Country. Their mission is to provide Sisters Country with exceptional, highly valued, community-focused park, recreational, and cultural enrichment experiences.

It is governed by an elected board of directors consisting of Jeff Tryens, president; Heath Foott, vice president; Peggy Tehan, treasurer; Rosemary Vasquez, secretary; and Bob Keefer, member. The board meetings are open to the public and typically held at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Coffield Center. Public input is welcome and encouraged.

Executive Director Jennifer Holland leads a staff of 25 full- and part-time employees who lead the programs and manage the facilities. Besides the 10,000-square-foot Coffield Center, there is a bike park, disc golf course, playground, and skate park located on the adjoining 15 acres.

Sisters Organization for Activities and Recreation (SOAR) was founded by volunteers in 1995 as a non-profit organization to provide recreation, sports, and enrichments for Sisters-area youth and families. In its earliest days, it was housed in a Quonset hut on Sisters School District property at the east end of town, and basically offered after-school programs for children.

In 1998, voters approved the formation of the SOAR District, a special park and recreation district, which is partially funded through taxes. The special taxing district boundaries are similar to the Sisters School District boundary.

In 2009, the name of the organization was changed from SOAR to Sisters Park & Recreation District. The current tax rate for the district is 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Twenty-two cents is the permanent tax rate and 15 cents is from the local option tax rate approved last year and good for five years.

The district currently has an annual operating budget of approximately $1.25 million. Twenty-eight percent of the revenue comes from permanent taxes, 19 percent from local option levy taxes, 37 percent from program registration fees, six percent from donations, grants, and miscellaneous sources, and 10 percent represents the beginning fund balance in January .

SPRD owns its building, the Coffield Center, named in honor of Tom Coffield, first director of then-SOAR. The building is located at 1750 W. McKinney Butte Rd., at the far end of the Sisters High School parking lot. They lease 15 acres surrounding the building from the Sisters School District and a new intergovernmental agreement is in the process of being created between the two parties.

For the three SPRD preschool classes, two classrooms at the elementary school are utilized free of charge. They are also given a highly discounted rate by the district for use of school facilities for programs, leagues, and tournaments.

Other programs include an after-school class, youth recreation programs, youth sports leagues, summer camps, adult athletics and enrichment, adult fitness programming, senior programming, drop-in community room space, and a variety of special events for the community. All of these programs can be viewed in the quarterly catalog as well as online on the SPRD website at http://www.sistersrecreation.com.

Additionally, there are a number of committees that have been formed by volunteers to offer other opportunities for engagement, that come under the umbrella of SPRD for insurance and other purposes. Those include the Astronomy Club, Outlaw Lacrosse, Outlaw Volleyball Club, Sisters Community Labyrinth, Sisters Pickleball Club, Sisters Farmers Market, Sisters Skate Park and Hyzer Pines Disc Golf Course. Initially, the Sisters Community Garden and Sisters Trails Alliance started out under the SPRD umbrella before forming their own nonprofit organizations.

Despite their name, SPRD is not connected in any way to the city parks (Village Green, Clemens, Fir Street, Creekside) which are the responsibility of and are maintained by the City Public Works department.

 

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