The Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Commission heard pitches from local clubs and associations Monday for what the biggest needs will be for future facilities.
The biggest complaints about current conditions came from Brock Aeschbacher of the Snake River Stock Car Association. He said that the city had not kept up its part of the maintenance arrangement for the raceway at Noise Park, saying the grass had not been cut in the weeks before the most recent race and mold was growing in the bathrooms.
“It’s tough to imagine going to any other park in town and seeing those conditions,” Aeschbacher said.
The repairs to the bathrooms were the only major request that Aeschbacher made for changes. Several members of the commission and the Parks and Rec department acknowledged that Noise Park had slipped through the cracks this summer.
“I agree that the city has not been holding up their end, or I guess our end, of this partnership,” golf commissioner Tom Hersh said.
Two multi-million dollar projects were pushed for by local recreation groups, although the specifics on how to fund either of them were lacking. The Bonneville Youth Soccer League said the city should install a turf field, potentially near Ravsten Stadium, that could be used for multiple sports and asked for lights to be installed by the existing soccer fields.
Elena Manwaring, president of Idaho Falls Figure Skating Club, told the commission that the figure skating and hockey clubs were outgrowing the capabilities of Lehto Ice Arena. With her club and other groups seeing more limited ice access during the year, Manwaring asked the department to move ahead with a second year-round arena.
While the commission agreed that those projects could be necessary, they also worried about how the city could afford to fund additions of any size. Two revenue-generating ideas discussed in detail by the group would see increases to the user fees at city golf courses to pay for new irrigation systems and new fees for events, such as soccer tournaments, that had previously been free.
“It costs more to maintain these things than people are willing to pay to use them. We’ve always been at a deficit there,” city councilman Jim Francis said.
The commission agreed to prioritize the parks and rec needs during next month’s meeting in order to make an official recommendation to the Idaho Falls City Council.