By Mindy Ragan Wood, Staff Writer – The Yukon Parks and Recreation Department has a wish list for 2018, Director Jan Scott said. Improvements are needed at the Jackie Cooper Gym, Dale Robertson Center, and the Community Center. Everything from new kitchen appliances to more parking at facilities is on the agenda for the department.
“These are things we hope to have this year if the funding works out,” Scott said.
“Hopefully we can have some new projects with sales tax being up.”
The wish list begins at the Dale Robertson Center where parking for events has reached full capacity.
“At the craft fair, we have about 45 vendors so that’s 45 cars and more if they’re two to a booth. Then we have employees and after that it’s really packed. It’s very crowded for all of our events out there. We are looking at the field beside the library for parking,” Scott said.
At the same time, Jackie Cooper Gym has outgrown its facility potential. Scott said city officials are developing a five-year expansion project.
“The land is there. Right now, it’s just the gym courts with a screen to divide it and that helps have two things going on at one time, but if someone else wants to come in and play basketball that really takes up a whole section. We could have more exercise classes, and have night classes if we had more room. Almost every night of the week is filled with one sport or another. There’s not enough gym space to do all the things we could offer,” she said.
The Community Center seems to have enough space, but the kitchen needs improvements.
“The kitchen was built in 1974 and we’ve had some upgrades since then, but we need new appliances for cooking classes and new wiring and plumbing,” Scott explained.
Traffic improvements for the three parks during the Christmas lights program may not be a realistic goal for 2018.
“The only thing we can see to change is to add a bridge over Mulvey Pond, and that would mean reworking the dam. That would be the only change we could make and it would be really expensive,” Scott said.
Not all items on this year’s agenda are on the wish list. Several improvements will be implemented this year.
A new software update for the park centers will be a guaranteed improvement.
“This will allow us to process credit cards at all our centers for events. We do have credit card processing for some our events through Eventbrite, for our 5ks and concerts and that really helps people who don’t live in Yukon. Now we’ll be able to take cards at the centers too,” she said.
Cornhole games are now available at Chisholm Trail Park where a league is expected to start playing this summer.
Construction will soon begin at Taylor Park to install concrete walkways and handicapped access to the park. Like many projects in the parks and recreation department, the improvement was the result of donor support and community supported fundraisers.
The parks and recreation department continues to receive support from scouting groups, civic organizations, friends of the park, church groups and individual donors.
“It helps to have partners because there’s only so much you can do as a department alone,” Scott said.
Last year, several improvements were made through partnerships with the city and the community. Ranchwood Park received a new restroom thanks to a grant from the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. Two new flag football fields were finished at Sunrise Park, and a new safety gate was installed at Taylor Park for Yukon BMX Raceway.
Memory benches were provided at Chisholm Trail Park with new asphalt for event parking and a new sidewalk that doubles as a train track. A new gate was installed at Hillcrest Park to allow easier access to the playground near the ballfield where adults play softball.
Scott said she appreciates the support of everyone who helps the department.
“We have great supporters and we couldn’t do without them. We appreciate the city of Yukon.”