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Frank Ferry: City pastimes make downtime fun, exciting

Posted: May 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

The city of Santa Clarita is an active community where residents enjoy and embrace healthful lifestyles. In our city, recreation and team sports programs are more than a pastime for many Santa Clarita families — they are a way of life.

The Santa Clarita City Council believes quality recreation and solid infrastructure help to build a stronger community. That’s why our city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department maintains one of the largest budgets in the city of Santa Clarita. Quality recreation classes and well maintained parks and facilities play a vital role in enriching the lives of youth and invigorating the community with physical, cultural and educational experiences.

In a typical summer, the city offers more than 1,000 classes. In the last 25 years, more than 1 million people have enjoyed city classes and enrolled in aquatics, youth sports, day camps and other healthful activities.

The following are just a few of the family-friendly programs and amenities available in our community, supporting healthy, connected families now and for generations to come.

 

City’s park system

No matter how you look at it, parks bring families together. Parks are the perfect place to refine a baseball swing or learn football, and a great place to unwind after a long day.

Since 1987, Santa Clarita has built, enhanced or incorporated parks across the community, and today maintains a total of 24 parks with 310 acres of parkland and more than 6,100 acres of open space.

The city built the 60-acre, state-of-the-art Santa Clarita Sports Complex, inclusive of the aquatics center, skate park, sand volleyball court, gymnasium and activities center, as well as the 130-acre Central Park with youth and community health in mind.

These facilities offer residents baseball diamonds, playing fields, basketball and racquetball courts, dog parks, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a 25-meter dive pool and family activity pool with water play equipment and a 168-foot water slide. Programming at these facilities and others across the city is geared to meet the sports and recreational needs of the entire community.

 

Recreation all year long

Since the city’s inception, recreation and youth sports attendance and programming has skyrocketed at the city’s parks and recreation facilities. In the last few years alone, enrollment for specialty classes has experienced a 400 percent increase, while the city’s aquatics programs have grown from eight water classes in 1990 to 46 programs in 2012.

Aquatics classes continue to be a favorite among residents, particularly in the summer when temperatures rise. In fact, aquatics classes are so popular that, when registration opened for summer programming May 8, more than 1,000 participants were enrolled in less than a day. Santa Clarita loves to swim as evidenced by usage at the City’s six pools, which consistently experience record-breaking attendance. Last year alone, more than 307,000 people visited city aquatic facilities.

In addition to a variety of popular youth programs, the city also offers recreational opportunities for adults, including soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball.

One of the most popular sports is the adult softball league with more than 200 teams each season and approximately 3,000 adults enjoying weekly games at Santa Clarita parks.

One of the city’s recent recreation efforts is its popular Inclusion Program, which was awarded a $9,500 grant to partner with the National Inclusion Project to implement Let’s ALL Play. The city’s participation in this program allows children with special needs the opportunity to enjoy local recreation programs with children without disabilities.

Since 2008, the program has grown by 600 percent. The Inclusion Program allows the city to provide safe and nurturing experiences for children with special needs, integrating them in traditional programs, such as swimming, arts and crafts, and physical fitness, and providing an improved quality of life.

Creating affordable, quality activities for people of all ages is a top priority for the City Council. That’s why the city’s quarterly Seasons magazine, which is delivered to more than 67,000 households in the city of Santa Clarita, is always filled with free and low-cost recreational, cultural and educational classes.

Whether it’s Hawaiian dancing, sushi making, dog agility classes, basketball or summer day camps, there are hundreds of opportunities to choose from for those interested in trying a new sport, refining a favorite, finding a new hobby or enjoying a favorite Santa Clarita pastime. 

For more information about the city’s recreation programs, contact 661-250-3700 or visit Santa-Clarita.com.

Frank Ferry is a Santa Clarita City Councilman and can be reached at: fferry@santa-clarita.com.

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