Recreation Masterplan Now vs. Future
We are helping to inform the public of different options to determine what the best path for improving and maintaining quality recreation in Teton County.
- Reviewed and shared findings from community focus groups and survey. Read the report here.
- Added website links to community sports and wellness opportunities. Go to the Sports & Activities page .
- Developed a detailed scope of work and secured a grant to support an update to the Teton County Recreation and Public Access Master Plan. We will promote and facilitate an update.
- entered into a fiscal sponsorship to assist a community sports organization as they pursue nonprofit status.
- We have applied for a grant to support expansion of our website to include coordinating functionality for sports and wellness nonprofits.
- Basing our path forward on your input and we'll be transparent through the whole process
- Conducted focus groups and surveys to understand what our community would like to see for organizational structures and are willing to support.
- Established our website, sportsandwellness.org.
- Advising the County on the Teton River Recreation Planning process
- Recruited community advisors for our team.
- Obtained our 501c3 status.
- Formed as an Idaho corporation.
- Evaluated sports, wellness, and recreation approaches in other Idaho counties.
See the Current Situation
In 2014 Teton County adopted the Teton County Recreation and Public Access Master Plan, and has since made impressive strides on elements of this plan. Examples include the establishment of Buxton Park and the development of the Teton County Waterways Recreation Ordinance.
However, we currently have a patchwork approach to recreation in Teton Valley with a mix of nonprofits providing structure only for their particular sport or recreation mission. There is no single organization providing cross-cutting coordination or support. As a result, organizations struggle to stabilize leadership and funding.
Additionally, most nonprofits specialize in one sport or area which can lead to user group conflict as groups compete with each other for limited resources, physical space, leadership, and funding. There is limited funding at the county level to support a comprehensive implementation of the master recreation plan.
Our goal is to work to find practical solutions to these complex issues for a whole host of sports and wellness opportunities. We want a future in which recreational and wellness opportunities are easy to navigate and accessible to the whole community
See the Issues
Why is the current situation challenging?
There is a lack of stable funding, stable leadership, facilities, and minimal means to execute long-term plans for recreational growth.
As you can see, the three cities provide community sports and recreation services, but funding gaps limit them. A central, responsible coordinating entity could help coordinate funding, prevent user conflicts and help manage our recreation resources and take a burden off of Tetonia, Driggs, and Victor.
And while many are making a good effort, the Victor LDS church, for example, allows soccer practice but the space isn’t large enough to host games.
Another example is that Driggs spends about $100,000 to maintain their parks and fields. However, an appropriate standard cost for maintenance of their acreage is about $200,000. The top priority is safety and basic function, the second is expansion and improvement, and the third is new facilities. Currently, Driggs can only meet the top priority of safety and basic function.
What doesn’t exist?
In most communities similar to ours there is a county recreation district or recreation department. There are solutions for Teton County, and currently, we are exploring which organizational approach our community wants to support. Please read the Next Steps tab to learn about our best options!
See Next Steps
The first step is all about polling the public to determine which solution the community wants!
In the Spring of 2021, we interviewed Recreation Leaders. Read the Recreation Stakeholders Interview Report and you'll see where we've identified a common theme of lack of support. In 2022 we performed community focus groups and a survey to better understand what the community would like to see for organizational structures and are willing to support. Read the Focus Groups and Survey report here. Thus, three main options currently stand out as the next steps, however, we are very much open to new ideas! Summer of 2022 we asked our community at large on what they want to support. This report will be shared in late fall 2022.
Simply put, it is a taxing district that is overseen by a public board. More specifically it is an independent taxing authority governed by a publicly elected board and the Idaho Code. Similar entities are the Teton School District 401 and the Library District.
The max levy rate is .06%. When forming a district the tax rate could be lower. It cannot be higher than .06%, this is a state statute.
Benefits of a Recreation District: They are a countywide entity that is able to leverage and reduce the administrative burden on our diverse nonprofit community by providing a single point of contact for program information, registrations, and facility reservations, as well as providing and ensuring consistent facility maintenance and upgrades. A vote was taken in 2002 on whether to form a recreation district. At that time only 31% of voters were in favor when it needed over 50% to pass.
Simply put, a recreation department is another department in the county that is overseen by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). Currently, the county is taxing at the max levy rate. The county could request an override by ballot every two years and would need to shift its budget to allow funds to be directed to a recreation department. Teton County did put a recreation department in place in 2015, however, it was eliminated in 2016 following a change in BOCC leadership. Example Fremont County
Recreation Departments and Recreation Districts can serve similar functions. Either can support youth sports, ball fields, recreation facilities, grooming, and river access A recreation district has the potential to have more and is governed by a board separate from the Board of County Commissioners.
The Nonprofit approach would not require any taxpayer support. A central, coordinating nonprofit could address small aspects of the master recreation plan but would be very hard to address the three elements of coordination, facilities, and access. This model has had some coordination success in Teton Valley by the Teton Valley Recreation Association.
An effort is underway to improve recreation Coordination • Facilities • Access
The 2014 Master Recreation Plan has divided recreation into three areas in Chapter 3: Coordination, Facilities, and Access
Coordination to provide support for programming of youth and adult sports teams, strategic planning, and a central hub to learn about sports and recreational opportunities. Imagine sports teams having support to run leagues, coaches having the opportunity for professional development such as concussion training, and teams being able to book field space from one central resource. Imagine there were opportunities available to all community members, regardless of their financial circumstances. And imagine a resource to communicate key messages on trail rules and conditions to avoid user conflicts.
Facilities are the first priority with maintenance and needed upgrades- Take care of what we have! The second priority is to to accommodate community growth by executing long-term plans for facility expansions such as additional ball fields, a recreation center, and a shooting range.
Access is critical and providing easy-to-access public lands with sufficient parking at trailheads, bathrooms that are clean, and signage to help direct the public and prevent user conflicts are essential elements in the MRP and key for our community.