Five Decades of Elevated Fun

This year, Evergreen Park & Recreation District will celebrate its fiftieth year in operation. To usher in this event, EPRD is gearing up for a year filled with celebration, new opportunities, and community engagement.

1969 to Today

Founded in 1969, EPRD was formed by residents as a way to provide the community with a swimming pool and a youth ski team. They operated under the leadership of a volunteer board until 1973 when the first executive director was appointed.

In 1973, the district expanded to include their first recreation center, complete with an indoor pool, locker rooms, and two community rooms. Kelly Green, EPRD’s Marketing and Communications Supervisor, commented on the changes over the years.

“While there has been significant change,” Green says, “[we] remain dedicated to providing services and programs to those we serve.”

Currently, the number served includes 23,000 residents over 78 square miles. EPRD also has a staff of 34 full-time employees and 269 part-time/seasonal employees, making them one of the largest employers in the area.

Having come a long way in only a half-century, EPRD now houses two recreation centers, the Evergreen Lake House, and seven parks, as well as coordinating programs for both youths and adults, including a mountain biking program, trail running and aquatics classes, gymnastics, and a wide variety of summer camps.

EPRD primarily serves the unincorporated towns of Evergreen, Indian Hills, and Kittredge. Since these locations do not have a true city government, residents look to EPRD as a primary resource for the community.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life of the community,” Green says, “…while maintaining and enhancing the area’s mountain character.”

Pursuing this goal, EPRD will continue overseeing the maintenance of many public park lands and trails, providing recreational amenities at a reasonable cost, and analyzing and preparing for future needs as the community continues to grow.

Celebrating 50 Years

This year, EPRD is gearing up for their fiftieth anniversary by hosting four major community events at various locations around the district. The celebration kicked off in February in the form of an ice skating party hosted to thank the community for their support over the years.

In May, an event at EPRD’s Marshdale Park will be held to celebrate all park improvements over the last three years. In 2016 and 2017, renovations were made to the playground, walking paths, and tennis and pickleball courts. More recently, in 2018, the park’s artificial turf was replaced, a turf track was added, and natural seating was installed.

The last two events EPRD has scheduled for their celebratory year are the Community Appreciation Party—held in conjunction with the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce—in July during the National Park and Recreation Month, and September’s Fall Festival, which will be held at the district’s Wulf Recreation Center.

“This will be a new event for us,” Green says. “We’re still discussing and planning… and staff are excited to offer a new event for our community.”

In previous years when putting on large events, the biggest challenges the district faced were parking and weather—two matters that can plague any outdoor event.

Although Green notes that the weather often proves difficult to control and predict, EPRD does their best to minimize parking issues by providing their own transportation for certain district events.

“When we have planned events such as the community skating party or summer concerts, we have shuttles running to help us,” Green says.

In addition, the use of CSD Pool’s Safety and Loss Prevention Grant Funds have proved helpful when it comes to event planning. In recent years, EPRD has utilized grant funds for barricades, gates, and patio lights for the district’s parking lots.

They have also purchased bright orange, heavy duty fencing to block off unsafe areas. Lastly, security cameras were installed at the Wulf Recreation Center, the location where this year’s Fall Festival will be held. Above all, planning and organization has always been the key to making sure things happen as planned. Just call it a little risk management for large social gatherings.

“For several years, we have utilized a pre-event checklist and post-event checklist,” Green says, “to make sure events run smoothly and look at how to handle aspects differently in the future if needed.”

Looking Forward

Moving beyond this commemorative year, EPRD is already considering how to serve their community better in the future. One of the biggest changes on the horizon is their updated website—it will receive a makeover in 2019.

“This is a big undertaking for us,” Green says. “It will not only have a new look but better functionality and a mobile app along with it.”

A few other major projects are set to be underway such as the creation of an Aquatics Advisory Committee, tasked with the goal of looking at options and needs for EPRD’s 47-year-old main pool.

Also on the agenda is the repair of the Evergreen Lake North Trail, currently in the planning and design phase, as well as the potential creation of a trail from Wilmot Elementary School to the Wulf Recreation Center.

Along with some celebration, new projects, and continued commitment to the community, EPRD remains focused on their new strategic vision of elevating the lives of their members. From 1969 to today, Green sees their role in the community as “versatile and open to changing programs and offerings as needed.” And from the looks of it, they show every sign of being up to the task.

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