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Park and rec board candidate Pat Callahan

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By Vicky Gits

Pat Callahan

Occupation

Trail guide/adult leader, stay-at-home parent; hockey coach. Former deputy director, Evergreen Park and Recreation, Dec. 2005 to March 2008; supervisor Buchanan Park Rec Center, 2004 to 2005; former YMCA recreation manager, 1989 to 1998

Educational background

B.A. criminal justice, Michigan State University

Family information

Married, three children, 18, 23 and 30

Age: 52

Length of residence in Evergreen

The Island since June 1998

Why you are running for the park board?

I feel my experience will be an asset to the community. Also should be able to help with staff (and) board (communication) issues. My big theme is fiscal transparency and fiscal oversight.

What do you believe are the top three issues facing the park district board?

Financial because the landscape is changing with property tax reassessment and values going down. The Buchanan master plan build-out process is a big issue. Third is the relationships with the user groups in the community.

Were you in favor of conducting the feasibility study that was jointly funded by the park district and the Center for the Arts Evergreen? Why?

My preference would have been to do a needs assesssment first and the feasibility study after that if the community agreed there was a need for an arts center. I said that as a staff member three and a half years ago.

What is your opinion of the idea of building an arts center in Buchanan Park next to the Buchanan Rec Center as a joint project of the park district and the CAE?

Arts is part of park and rec. We used to do (arts classes) at the Wulf Center. John Skeel made the statement the arts is part of park and rec. I believe that’s true. I’m not for a freestanding facility. Duplication of staff is not worth it. If the needs assessment gives some support to the arts, I would be in favor of a future Buchanan expansion to accommodate art at Buchanan. The park district needs to maintain control.

What level of development, if any, is appropriate for Buchanan Park, and how do you feel about the concerns of the neighbors in The Trails and The Ridge?

The veteran memorial, the trail, the picnic pavilion are acceptable and may be items the community can agree on. It should be designed for the community but also take into account the concerns of the neighbors, like we did in Stagecoach. We have a Jeffco Open Space Division for open space, and we pay a 0.5 percent sales tax for that.

How do you see the role of the arts in a special recreation district?

What we need to get our hands around is how much support is given to arts in other special districts as a starting point. Then we evaluate that. We may go under or beyond that if we make that decision as a community.

How much should the board decision be governed by the results of the upcoming community survey to be completed this spring?

It has to be given a lot of weight. You have to have confidence the survey is valid and reliable. We stumbled out of the blocks. We had two community-input meetings on one weekend instead of different weekends. They didn’t advertise enough. They need to get more people involved in the process. There wasn’t enough advance notice.

What would you like to change, if anything, about the district and the way it is run?

I would like to see the district use information based on good data so the people can make good decisions. Then the community will feel like we have given it our best shot, and we can all feel comfortable whether it went our way or not.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

If elected I would be one of the most experienced park and recreation professionals ever to sit on the board. I hope to bring the board, staff and community together.

Open-ended statement of your choice.

Our rec centers are like the barber shop in the big city. Parks offer a sense of community. The facilities are places where you see your friends. Parks are a meeting place. It’s about exercise, too, but at the end of the day, park and rec is like Evergreen’s city hall.