Community ‘Play Day’ part of creating regional vision

Siuslaw Vision will another opportunity community members to share fun and ideas

Nov. 24, 2018 — The Siuslaw Vision will be hosting the second in a series of events featuring games open to all ages and aimed at bringing the Siuslaw region together. It will also be an opportunity to find out what the community wants when it comes to parks and recreation — whether that be a dedicated recreational center, the reopening of past centers like the Mapleton pool, or any combination of ideas.

In what Siuslaw Vision is dubbing “Siuslaw Play Day 1.2,” the event, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Mapleton Lions Club. It will host a variety of activities including giant board games, an opportunity to decorate (and eat) gingerbread cookies, a free pickleball clinic and other fun, community oriented activities.

“There’s definitely going to be a lot of games,” said Megan Spencer, Siuslaw Vision Keepers co-chair. “Giant Uno, with really big cards. There’s also giant Jenga, which is a lot of fun. If you’re really good, the Jenga gets up to six feet tall, but that takes some work. There’s possibly what we’re calling ‘fish out of water’ games because there isn’t a pool in Mapleton. Marco Polo, Sharks and Minnows. You know, fish out of water!”

Santa Claus will also be there, though there will not be an official photographer.

“You’ll have to do that yourself, thus #SiuslawSantaSelfies,” Spencer said.

Participants will also be able to share their views on parks and recreation in the Siuslaw.

“The idea is very much to help people come together to talk about the future of parks and recreation in our region, and to do it with fun,” said Spencer. “This is a series of programs that we’re planning over the next while. I think we want to keep going until we hear from a lot of people about what they want to see.”

The first event in the series, which was held in October, took place in various locations throughout Florence.

“We had events at the Senior Center with yoga, the pickleball court with John Griffin, and we had some events at Miller Park,” Spencer said, stating that more than 50 people turned out to talk about the future of parks and recreation.

“One of the things that was so interesting to see how excited the kids were about the idea of having a community space where they go and play and use a pool and all of those really fun things. We invited kids to draw their vision of the future of parks and recreation in the area, and that was a real joy. We will be doing that again with the kids in Mapleton.”

All of this is done in an attempt to find out what the Siuslaw region wants when it comes to parks and recreation, which the Vision found was a need when they first began polling residents about what they wanted in the area years ago.

“When we did the more than 700 surveys and all the work that went into the Siuslaw Vision, one of the things that rose to the top was that people wanted a shared vision,” Spencer said. “Another one was parks and recreation or community center. A lot of interest around our region for a great parks and recreation facility, program and activities.”

There have been multiple groups in the region that have called for specialized facilities for their favorite recreational interests. Griffin and his fellow players are pickleball “evangelists,” hoping to get a more robust court in the region. There’s the Siuslaw Regional Aquatic Center group which wants to reopen the Mapleton pool. There’s also the newly formed cribbage club in Mapleton, which is helping to host Siuslaw Play Day 1.2.

“Then there’s the youth soccer folks,” Spencer said. “There were all of these groups working on their own, and sometimes we can duplicate efforts.”

So, the Siuslaw Vision is stepping up to get a broad vision of what the entire community wants when it comes to parks and recreations.

“To me, one of the things I love so much about the Siuslaw Vision is it makes sure we’re all on the same page,” Spencer said. “This series of events is, in part, is a way for us as a community f to come together, do some surveys, talk about what we would love to see in the future, and find ways we can come together around a unified vision for that in our area.”

One of the concepts that keeps coming up is the need for a community center.

“A space that allows a whole bunch of activities to take place, that has facilities that are diverse and varied,” Spencer said. “A lot of meeting spaces, a lot of community rooms. I really think that seems to be a place where there seems to be a lot of interest.”

However, that’s not to say that all of the regions recreational activities would be centered in one space.

“I don’t think there will be a particular space that will be everything for everyone,” said Spencer. “I think the reason that it makes sense to work together as a district is because it gives us more ability as a bunch of people to have spaces that work for us that are up and down the river. Deadwood has its fantastic life around their community center. Mapleton has the pool that it’s anxious to see reopen. We have some needs here in Florence for more recreation. It’s really looking at a vision for the entire area and finding spaces that would serve those needs.”

Because of the various needs of the region, Spencer believes it’s important for the region to get a vision of what they truly want to happen, and then band together.

“We really want to start by getting a sense of what it is we all want,” Spencer said. “It’s hard to really work toward something when you aren’t really sure what that something really is. … I think part of this is finding people who have some passion and want to put some time in this and make it happen. The more of those people we can find, the faster it’s going to happen. Part of the magic is when they get together — because when you get a group of 150 people all on the same page, then 300, then 700… that’s how you make something really exceptional happen.”

Siuslaw Play Day 1.2 will take place at the Mapleton Lions Club building, 88148 Riverview Ave. from 5 - 7 p.m. The event is in collaboration with the ongoing Mapleton Library Cribbage Club, the Siuslaw Regional Aquatic Center, Mapleton Food Share, Florence Farmers Market, Pickleball Club and the Mapleton School District.

For more information, contact [email protected] or call 541-590-2425.

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