Summary of Sept. 19 board of directors meeting

September 20, 2023

The Sept. 19 BPRD board of directors meeting focused on recreation services and programs. A video recording of the meeting is available.

First, Kathya Avila Choquez and Jenny McGee introduced a new short film documentary about its Family Swim Lessons in Spanish program that coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month. “Rompiendo Patrones / Disrupting Patterns” is a 12-minute short film that debuted at the Vámonos al Cine Latinos Film Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, as part of Welcoming Week.

The documentary follows Latino families who have participated in the Family Swim Lessons in Spanish. The family swim program was created in 2018 as a collaboration between the BPRD Aquatics team and the Outreach team who focus on reaching historically underserved community members to build trust and awareness of BPRD programs and opportunities.

Next, Matt Mercer shared annual recreation statistics. Highlights include:

  • There were 658,711 drop-in visits at facilities total in 2022-23. There were 467,764 drop-in visits in 2021-22 for comparison.
  • There were more than 50,000 visits per year for swim teams and water polo alone (not included in statistic above).
  • Kids INC served 1,215 students during the 22-23 school year at 14 elementary schools.
  • More than 30,000 individuals were served in a recreation program or facility visit in the past year, representing 25% of households in Bend.
  • There was $747,028 in scholarship funds used and 1,686 households approved for scholarships. This is nearly double the amount as two years ago, thanks to grant awards.

Finally, Matt Mercer and Brian Hudspeth discussed a staff recommendation to construct a new home for the Art Station. In fall 2016, BPRD worked quickly to restart Art Station programs that were previously offered by Arts Central in the same building when the not-for-profit organization closed. Programs have featured a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, printing, sculpture, jewelry, glass arts, ceramics, pottery, textiles and mixed media.

The Art Station was previously located in the train depot in the Old Mill District. The Old Mill District discontinued a generous low-cost lease in April 2022, so the building could support the growing use of the amphitheater. This arrangement was intended to be temporary and was communicated to BPRD in advance.

Since spring 2022, the district has offered youth and adult art programs at Larkspur Community Center, Harmon Hobby Hut and in various Bend area schools. During this same period, district staff have been exploring potential sites and facilities for a future home for district art programs.

District staff recommended and the board agreed that a new Art Station facility should be built at Larkspur Park.

“Constructing a new facility for the Art Station at Larkspur Park provides considerable opportunities for shared staffing, co-programming and scheduling coordination,” said Matt Mercer, recreation services director. “The placement within a park also provides direct connection to both developed and natural areas that will enhance art programming and ignite creativity for youth and adults.”

A construction timeline is being developed now and staff anticipates opening the facility by summer 2026. Staff anticipates returning for the board of directors to seek approval of a design consultant agreement by the new year.

The next board of directors meeting is Oct. 3.