A handful of residents and city of Yuma leaders talked potential recreational opportunities during a comprehensive plan meeting Monday night at the Yuma Community Center.

Two more meetings, based on community survey results and interviews by Jim and Sandra Pedersen of Pedersen Planning Consultants, were set for Wednesday night focusing on roads and economic development. (Look for more on those gatherings in next week’s paper, and possibly online at yumapioneer.com.)

Approximately 30 attended Monday’s meeting. They eventually were split into smaller groups to brainstorm on such things as walking/running/biking trail, recreation center and swimming pool.

Community members share their ideas about future recreational opportunities in Yuma, Monday night at the Yuma Community Center. (Pioneer Photo)

First, though, Jim Pedersen explained why those topics were chosen for that meeting. He started out by listing all the recreational activities available in Yuma, finishing with the conclusion on his Power Point presentation “If you’re bored in Yuma, go see a doctor.”

He explained that he and Sandy held “stakeholder” interviews with 55-60 people earlier this year. Three items related to recreation kept coming up in the interviews: a new swimming pool, community trails and an indoor recreation center.

Then came the community survey that concluded at the end of June. (Complete survey results are available at yumacolo.org.) Pedersen said the number of surveys completed represented 22 percent of households in Yuma, and 41 percent of households within a three-mile radius of town.

“It’s a pretty substantive return,” he said.

Survey results reinforced what the Pedersen’s learned in the stakeholder interviews — respondents strongly supported a new pool, community trails and an indoor recreation center. The survey’s final question also asked to list top three priorities. Providing more recreational opportunities came in third among the choices with 48 percent, behind only economy

Then came the brainstorming session for 30 minutes, followed by each of the six groups making a presentation.

Ideas for a community trail varied widely. Each group was provided a map of the city, and used a green marker to outline their idea for a trail. One group had trail that looped around the entire perimeter of Yuma, another focused on having one just around the perimeter of Indian Hills Golf Course, and others attempted to tie-in the town with the fishing hole (Lake Yuma) and ball field complex located to the east, as well as connecting the walking loops already in town (Lake Yuma, Veterans Park, Health Trails Park YDH & C, and Lake Yuma).

All the groups were in agreement to have an indoor/outdoor swimming pool that would be part of a recreation center. The pool would include the features now popular with “aquatic centers” such as “zero entry,” big slides, splash pads and more for younger and older swimmers. Lap swim areas were part of the ideas, some came up with having a therapy pool, and the ability to have year-round water-based exercise classes in the indoor portion.

The recreation center side of it included raquetball/pickle ball/squash-type courts, the need for another gymnasium in the community, a climbing wall, an area for such things as aerobics and yoga, and some had the idea of having a childcare available while parents exercised. There also was the idea of having the staff be the ones to teach the classes in order to help keep down costs to users, along with discussion about keeping a facility affordable for all residents.

It also was suggested to install a soccer field in the open area east of the city ball parks, at the Jeff Armstrong complex. There was even an idea for ice skating in the winter, and having a dog park in town. Updating the playground at City Park and providing more shade, as well as sprucing up the old part of City Park with flower beds, were suggested.

The ideas will be incorporated by the Pedersens into the final comprehensive plan product they will provide to the city later this year. It will then be up to city leaders, and the community, and to utilize it as a guide to move Yuma forward in making it an even more desirable place to live.