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Be part of Tehachapi's legacy, vote yes on Measure R

Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District


October 27, 2018

Michelle Vance

The election is almost upon us, and I can't help but reflect on the journey to November.

It's been quite an expedition getting Measure R on the Nov. 6 ballot, one that has come with plenty of opposition and enthusiasm. I take every comment, negative or uplifting, into consideration. I understand the worries surrounding the financial aftereffects for taxpayers if it passes and I commend the bravery that comes with backing the vision. And that is exactly what this is, a beautiful and achievable vision.

I don't want my time as District Manager of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District to simply pass by as I sign papers that do the bare minimum to keep our parks thriving and functional. My wish is for all of us to be part of the legacy that makes Tehachapi's parks and recreation options brilliant and inspirational. The TVRPD team that has poured hours of research and studies into this proposal are leaving a footprint in this town and shaping the path for future generations.

What sort of imprint should we be making now to ensure the future of Tehachapi is just as bright, if not brighter than it is today?

In my past columns I've listed the positive impact parks and recreation has on a community:

• Increased health and wellness

• Better quality of life

• A boost to local economy

• Increased property values

• A commitment that attracts new business opportunities and residents

• A more sustainable future for generations to come

The 2018 Americans' Engagement with Parks Report, conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association, investigated how people use, benefit from and connect to their local parks and recreation outlets. This year's findings include:

• "Americans, on average, visit their local park and recreation facilities more than twice a month.

• Eighty-five percent of Americans consider high-quality park and recreation amenities important factors when choosing a new place to live.

• More than nine in 10 Americans agree that parks and recreation is an important local government service.

• Seventy-six percent of Americans are more likely to vote for local politicians who make park and recreation funding a priority.

• Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents indicate they want their local governments to increase park and recreation spending."

This is a big investment and it takes the commitment of a community to make it happen. Yes, it will increase your taxes and yes that initial impact may be hard to digest. But overall, both the initial and long-term benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Some have expressed their support for a smaller bond, or that we achieve our goals of replenishing current parks and building a well-rounded recreation center in pieces over time. But trust the experts and the studies we've conducted, doing it in pieces will be more costly in the long run. Building and repairing bits at a time calls for separate approvals, permits, multiple staff and manager salaries, etc. Tie it all together and the bottom line cost is much higher than placing everything under one beautiful roof. The Measure R plan saves taxpayers money in the long run, gives future generations a better quality of life and makes Tehachapi a home to admire. Let's make this a well-rounded community based on prosperity and progress.

As you head to the polls or fill in your ballot at home, ask yourself this question ... do you want to be part of Tehachapi's forward-thinking legacy?

Michelle Vance is the District Manager of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from Cal State Bakersfield and has lived in Tehachapi for 26 years.


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