Paso Robles News|Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Letters: City needs to keep funding Paso Robles Recreation Department 

Letter to the editor paso robles daily news–The Paso Robles Daily News received multiple letters to the editor in regards to the topic of keeping the Paso Robles Library and Recreation Department funded during impending COVID-19 shutdown-related budget cuts:

To the editor,

I am writing to express my dismay and disbelief that the city council would consider cutting recreation services, especially at this time when so much has already been taken away from us due to Covid-19. The people of Paso need our recreation services now more than ever!

When COVID-19 first caused shutdowns my husband said I became like a caged tiger because I wasn’t able to attend my Zumba Gold class. He was joking but that’s actually how I felt! It’s so important to get regular exercise to maintain physical fitness, emotional well-being and reduce stress but we need our recreation department to continue offering these opportunities. We need to have something enjoyable to look forward to and the department of recreation fills that need, not only for seniors but all ages.

The staff and class instructors at Centennial Park have gone above and beyond, to accommodate guidelines for safety when classes were able to resume under given restrictions.

Please, do not even consider taking this away from us during this time when we’ve lost so much already. As my husband says, “Chocolate only does so much”.

Michelle D’Antonio
Paso Robles

To the editor,

I find it incredibly difficult to believe the city of Paso Robles is considering cutting the REC department. In fact, I find it so unbelievable I spent 45 minutes researching it only to find this is in fact something they are considering.

Why do I find this hard to believe? While the city continues to cater strongly to tourists and make living here completely unaffordable, while they have failed to address the lack of parking, increasing cost of housing, and lack of job opportunities, the one thing they have done well is provide an abundance of services to Robleans through the REC Dept

Why do I find this so hard to believe? Our city manager makes $213,779, our Assistant City Manager makes $183,419, and our Community Services Director $178,413 all while the average income of a Paso Robles resident is $28,358.

In what way do these people feel their salaries are more important than providing recreational services? How is it their duty is now to tourism and boosting tourism and not supporting the people paying their incredibly inflated salaries?

Brad Koyak
Paso Robles

To the editor,

As a 17-year resident of the city of Paso Robles, I am appalled by the mere discussion of cutting your City’s Recreation Department. I am a mom, homeowner, volunteer, youth sports coach, and neighbor. Not only has my family enjoyed, used, participated in, and supported the recreation department, but we also believe in its necessity yesterday, today, and in our future. recreation saves lives.

I understand very closely the impact of Covid-19 on our city’s budget. However, the positive impact recreation has on this community deserves more than being labeled as un-essential and cut. Your recreation department touches our seniors (Senior Center, aquatics, classes, special events), our youth (youth sports leagues, field use, teen programming, aquatics, REC foundation, playgrounds, classes, special events), our adults (aquatics, classes, special events, adult sports field use)…literally every person in this city has been touched by recreation in one way or another. Every single person.

This very clearly smells like a ploy to scare your citizens into voting for the proposed sales tax measure in November; that will be your legacy.

During this pandemic, your recreation department has gone above and beyond to not only creatively provide programming to our community, but also to jump in to help all other departments in the city at a time when their doors and programs were shut down. The impact of Covid-19 on our youth and our senior’s mental health will be felt for years to come. The recreation department will be instrumental when this pandemic subsides; recreation will be more important than ever.

How have you a City Council gone about informing your citizens that you have decided that their beloved recreation department is non-essential? Did you reach out to the many youth sports groups to let them know that an over-worked and under-staffed Public Works Department will possibly manage their field use? Did you let your seniors know that the library will have reduced hours and the senior center will close? Did you let your downtown businesses know that the recreation department’s special events that bring thousands downtown to support their businesses, will no longer be happening? Did you let parents know that they will not be able to utilize swim lessons through the city, to save their child’s life, because there will not be a department to facilitate those. In fact, the pools will sit closed, empty and wasted. Because it’s all labeled “non-essential.”

There will be unintended consequences of closing your recreation department, many of which you cannot possibly grasp. Your group of recreation employees are some of the best in our county who have won awards at the state level (CPRS-California Park & Recreation Society).

There are hundreds of ways to cut a budget. Get creative; utilize your lay-off prevention plan, lean on your budget reserves, tighten budgets. You are recklessly making a decision as an economic shift is happening in a positive direction for our city, and the impact it would have on our community, our seniors, our children, and our neighbors will be tragic.

Jennifer Fanning
Paso Robles

To the editor,

Please do not get rid of the recreation Paso Robles provides for the citizens. There are so many needs right now especially from our children to our elderly. As a registered nurse we learn of Maslow’s law of self-actualization. Achieving one’s full potential includes creative activities. Why would you want to omit something that is the most important thing in our lives? I know that you are educated people but thought I would remind you of this law. Please reconsider taking away what could be the only outlet of some of these people‘s lives in your community after all the hardships we have gone through and things we have given up already.

Rose Martin, RN

To the editor,

This is in response to Paso Robles City Council’s consideration to completely cut the recreation department because they have deemed recreation as “non-essential.” This is absolutely outrageous. Paso Robles more than ever needs continued recreation services that is what Paso is built on. This community has already lost so much as a result of this Pandemic and to take this away now is absolutely unwarranted and disgusting. This community needs all the activities that the rec supports. How much more can we lose!? Please consider my letter in support of continuing the rec department.

Lorraine Williams

To the editor,

–Is it true that the Paso Robles City Council is considering eliminating the public library because of a budget deficit? The library is the cultural heart and soul of our community. Even under COVID restrictions, the library has been open for safety distanced use and has been providing desperately needed online programs for kids who are stuck at home. The library is a safe haven for the homeless in the heat of summer and the cold, rain of winter. Cancel the roundabouts we don’t need, save millions, and keep our library, which we do need!

Jeff & Pat Munks

Editor’s note: Letters to the editor are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paso Robles Daily News or its staff. We welcome letters from local residents regarding relevant local topics. To submit one, click here.