By KEVIN C. MURPHY
Given increasing political spin, I’m writing to set the record straight regarding the aquatics project in Truckee. So many of our area voters are being misinformed and I am hopeful more information will help overall thinking and discussion for future projects. One mission of the Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District is to help our community — including all those in North Tahoe — obtain an exciting and expanded offering of public aquatics. What has been unexpected is that a modern aquatics project is not just about swimming. Teams of dedicated individuals working over the last nine years discovered that an aquatics project is more than just a swimming pool. Rather, it’s a place to go inside, a place of healing, a place of health, a place of fun, a place of competition, a place of learning, a place of safety, a place of community, and so very much more.
I ran for re-election with advice from a good friend suggesting someone should be the steward of the recreation district’s $7 million savings from the 2008 Community Center project and invest those monies wisely within our confines. Lots of hard work has been undertaken since 2005 and continues today and I am proud to say we are just $40,000 short of our total fundraising goal for a complete facility. That would mean we’ll have raised $2.1 million in just over three months. Amazing.
In April, the Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District asked the Tahoe Forest Hospital District Board to help the community and close the prior $130,000 shortfall. In exchange, TDRPD unanimously ratified and designed a discounted aquatics programs for pre and post-natal mothers, TFHD day care, Medicare & MediCal recipients, a community center wellness program for TFHD employees and for all other districts and Town of Truckee employees, acute care programs for therapy discharged patients, and a therapeutic class program partnership.
Many in our public skewered TFHD and TDRPD about the “gifting of public funds” and “an effort by the rec district to do an end around on failed 2012 Measure J effort.” Complete and total poppy-cock. In my mind, there’s no gift. This effort was all about a community health partnership that would last for over 40 years. On April 28, the effort failed in a 3-1 vote. Some even expressed joy regarding the defeat. Really? For a community health partnership?
TDRPD has sought, as we always have, to design something that would make us unique, healthy, and proud of our home. As I write, we’ve now raised a little over $2 million in three months. The deadline to award the warm water therapy pool for the project is May 5, and I am hoping by the time you read this we’ll have achieved our goal.
~ Kevin C. Murphy, Tahoe Donner Recreation and Park District Board vice chair and chairman of the Aquatics Committee