Duane Burk and Dan Hughes are still surprised that residents think the city of Beaumont and the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Recreation and Park District are intertwined.
“We get so many people saying, ‘We thought that the park district is part of the city.’ No, we’re not,” said Hughes, chairman of the park district’s board of directors and a board member for 18 years.
The recreation and park district, in its 48th year, is a special district that is separate from the city in regards to funding and jurisdiction over events held at Noble Creek Park and its facilities.
It is part of the County of Riverside, which included Bogart Park until last year, when the park district took over the lease.
The Beaumont-Cherry Valley Recreation and Park District is comprised of 62 acres, including nine softball fields, an RV camping area and a community center built in 1982 on what used to be the parking lot.
Just mention the recreation and park district and residents know about the special events and programs normally sponsored each year, including Oktoberfest, Spring Fling and Egg Hunt, and Fishing Derby.
The park district also owns the Cherry Valley Grange and the Beaumont Woman’s Club.
WinterFest is held in December at the Grange and the Woman’s Club is the site of CAST Theatrical Players productions and the San Gorgonio Pass Historical Society monthly meetings.
Fiscal independence also is important to the park district, which does not receive any funding from the city of Beaumont.
Burk, who is the general manager, said that the service area is from County Line Road through Banning.
“When Calimesa became a city in the 90s, they disconnected from the park district. The city of Banning did the same thing,” said Burk.
The population of Beaumont in 1972 was 4,500 to 5,000 residents.
In 1989, there were 6,000 residents.
Today’s population is close to 50,000 residents.
Burk and Hughes said that a family sold the land for $90,000 where Noble Creek sits now.
The park district receivedgrants to construct the community center, which was built by Bogh Construction.
There even was a well on the property until 2002, when the park district contracted with the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District.
Hughes said that he has big plans for the park district. “My goal is to regionalize this area,” Hughes said. “We’re looking at partnering with our park districts.”
Along with nine baseball fields and an equestrian center, the area includes an RC racing course called Thunder Alley, a tennis court, and a dog park that opened in 2012.
The parking lot also serves as a command center for emergency operations such as the fires and law enforcement needs a location for de-briefings and talking with the media.
The first event held at Noble Creek Park was Oktoberfest 32 years ago in the parking lot.
In 2008, the park district expanded the attraction and it moved down the hill to the ball field No. 1.
Hughes and Burk said that the expansion of Oak Valley Parkway to four lanes necessitated the move and now Oktoberfest is a popular event, drawing many people from all over Southern California.
The fishing derby is held annually at the ponds owned by the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District.
Burk said that the park district is open and available seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Regional parks, said Hughes, just are not being built anymore.
Noble Creek Park has its own security, Burk said.
There are 30 employees, including full-time, part-time and casual.
As for funding, a percentage comes from property tax and rates are charged for using the ball fields and meetings at the community center.
The park district also has applied for grants, Burk said.
There also is three times a year that parking fees are charged, at $5 a carload.
Bogart Park has an entrance fee of $10 per car, which has been in effect since before the park district took over the lease.
This year, the park district has renovated the community center and the addition of an ADA door.
The ribbon-cutting event and mixer set for April is on hold due to the coronavirus crisis.
Burk said that the park district aims to have programs and sports activities that are unique and not shared by the city.
The Beaumont Sports Park is owned by the city so there would be no need to have soccer fields in the park district. The city also has Stewart Park and the plunge and the community center.
The park district has created opportunities that draw different audiences.
“This is a destination area for people to come to,” said Hughes.
The park district also started Movies in the Park, which features popular animated films once a week during evenings in the ball field at no charge.
The Beaumont Cherry Valley Water District sponsors some of the movie nights.
A foundation was created to propose ideas for the park district and Bogart Park.
“They have their own separate visions of what they want to see and bring it to the board,” Hughes said.
Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at email@example.com.