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All staff photo - 2020 RivCoParks Confer

Question:

With everything that has occurred this year, I want to know what RivCoParks big picture plan is. It would be nice to see upgrades in campground facilities, but knowing that our financial situation is still recovering, when would we start seeing CIPs being planned and scheduled? Ideally, it would be nice to know what our possible outlooks for the future would look like.


Answer:

Thank you for your inquiry about CIP projects and investments in our Parks. It is challenging to plan for investments when we still face financial uncertainty I the midst of the pandemic. That said, we still have to plan and chip away at our infrastructure needs. This year is no exception. As the pandemic began, we evaluated the projects planned for the current year. Since many of these are grand funded, we were able to continue without interruption. These projects include:

  • Segments of the Santa Ana River Trail

  • Salt Creek Trail

  • Kabian OHV Restoration Project

  • Hidden Valley Shade Shelters 

Other CIP projects have dedicated funding sources that we have continued to work on:

  • Harford Springs Trailhead

  • Rancho Jurupa Park Splashpad Improvements

  • Lake Skinner Sewer Improvement Project

  • Jensen-Alvarado Ranch – Lead Abatement & Repainting

  • Santa Rosa Plateau ADA Improvements

  • Santa Rosa Plateau Amphitheater Replacement

  • Cal OES Repairs at McCall & Hurkey Creek

As we embark on planning for the next year, we’ll evaluate our budget status and review our list of CIP projects to determine priorities. On the horizon are the following projects and their identified funding sources:

  • Santa Ana River Trail (multiple phases) – Primarily Grant Funded/ Some DIF Funding

  • Lake Skinner Boat Launch – Grant Funded

  • Lake Skinner Lift Station #1 Replacement – DIF funds

  • Mayflower Sewer Project – Solar Project Funds, District CIP funds, Prop 68 Per Capita Funds

Ultimately, the number, type and location of projects will depend on the amount of operating, CIP and specific grant funds we have available.

Question:

Why are you interested in County vs City parks and recreation operations?  It seems like you are city type girl?


Answer:

Well, I’m not sure what a “city type girl” is, but yes, I grew up in and currently live in a city…and I can see how being in the office all day makes me appear like a city girl, as clothing for Board Meeting is not the same as clothing worn for a day out exploring our trails.  Believe me, if it was socially appropriate to wear jeans and t-shirts to a board meeting I would do so!

Parks folks come from all types of backgrounds and that’s what makes us unique, there is something for everybody.  Whether you like fishing, boating, camping, hiking, birding, biking, riding a horse, learning about history or learning about nature – there is something for everyone.  We all have room to find something to learn about and enjoy in our parks.

As you may know, I worked for the City of Fontana both in Parks/Recreation and in the City Manager’s office.  I believe there is a natural progression from City Parks work to County Parks work which operates on a regional level.  I began in the field of recreation, and learned about all aspects of the work that cities provide…from active programs and events to performing arts and community centers. I’ve done everything from clean restrooms and painting buildings to producing large scale events and public television shows.  I soon began to have an interest in how I could make an impact at a larger level and I needed more challenges.  When I came to county parks I again started in recreation management but moved to something larger and broader with oversight of the parks from an administrative level.  I have overseen every aspect of the work, which involves work in an office (City) to work out in the field.   

I think this question is a good one because it also shows me that sharing my story helps connect with all of you in new and different ways.  We all come from different backgrounds and interests but we have all found our place here.

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Question:

At our first All Staff Meeting, right before the pandemic started, you mentioned how much you love reading.  Would you like to share with us what you are reading, what you really enjoyed reading in recent weeks, or what book(s) you gifted the most? – Nori Gardner


Answer:

Dear Nori,


I love reading and talking about books, so thank you for your question! I’ve been reading a lot lately to distract myself from the reality of this pandemic (and since there is nothing good on television!). I love to read all types of books, but my favorites are fictional novels based on history. Two recent books I love are The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer and The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate. Lisa Wingate also wrote Before We Were Yours, another terrific historical novel.


On the more educational side, The Forest Ranger by Herbert Kaufman, which is a study of administrative behavior (I can see some of you yawning now), and The National Parks, America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns are two books I turn back to often. The latter explains the history of how national parks became an American priority and the process early parks pioneers went through to help set aside and preserve these national treasures.


In general, I love science based books, science-fiction, professional self-help books, business how-tos, mysteries, and books about religion. Pretty much anything that has words! Another favorite book from this past year is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This book is set in the late 1960s in the marshlands of North Carolina. While the story was wonderful, I loved the focus on the natural world that the book includes, educating the reader about the marshland habitat and the creatures that make their home in that setting.

Finally, books that I am gifted the most have to do with nature, science and history. My family members (my mom, sisters and aunts) all love to read, and we trade books whenever we see each other.

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