Throughout the current calendar year, our country, our state and our community have been through a great deal. The year 2020 has been challenging; however, the community of Ashland has reacted and rebounded, as much as possible, to provide care and support for each other. You have probably noticed many changes to Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission (APRC) since March, such as buildings being closed; classes, events and programs being canceled and many outdoor amenities being shuddered.
Since March, when many APRC services and programs were halted, our staff has worked hard to find ways to continue to connect with the public. Some programs would be down for a long period of time, such as the Daniel Meyer Memorial Pool and The Grove Recreation Center. To address the gap in recreation program offerings due to closures, our recreation staff worked to identify new ways to connect with you. We developed the “Find Your Space” initiative, which is a system that focuses on the safety of community members, staff and our instructors, and offers alternative options for enjoyment as we navigate public health guidelines.
The system offers three spaces: PHYSICAL Space – Parks, Trails and Open Space; SAFE Space – Resources available to community members to stay safe and healthy; and, FUN Space – Explore ways to stay active and engaged with communities including providing feedback to APRC – This space includes our collection/resources of digital materials!
Some areas of APRC, like the physical open spaces, parks and trails, have seen record numbers of users over the summer season. People are taking advantage of the outdoors and spending time using the thousands of acres of open space, parks and trails available to them through APRC, the City of Ashland and the Forest Service. Our staff has enjoyed the opportunity to serve the public by maintaining and providing a “space” for our community to use safely during a very uncertain time.
Recently, the Community was again faced with challenges related to the national unification to fight racism and injustice. APRC’s statement to the community still stands as we affirm our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. We seek to make parks and programs accessible and safe for all, regardless of race or gender, age or abilities, sexual orientation, religion or socioeconomics. ALL are welcome here.
In addition, 2020 has been a challenging year both nationally and locally; even before September 8 when the Almeda Fire ravaged the communities of Talent and Phoenix. Our hearts go out to our neighboring communities for their suffering and loss as a result of the recent fires. APRC has been working where we can to provide support and assistance to Talent and Phoenix and we will be here for the long run, to assist our community of neighbors as we rebuild together.
This season’s PlayGuide, although limited in offerings, is representative of an agency of employees, volunteers and elected officials who are working very hard to provide something positive to our community of neighbors in an uncertain time. All of your friends at APRC invite you to explore the opportunities available through this PlayGuide and the thousands of acres of parks and open space in and around Ashland to give you the opportunity to “Find Your Space.”