SOLEDAD — Soledad Community Center has new leadership: Recreation Manager Rebecca Hall, who is preparing a new team for the expected reopening of community centers statewide in June.
Hall not only oversees the city’s programs and parks, but is also directing the new programming from the Soledad Community Center.
“To me, it’s looking at the community and seeing what works for the community and outreach to find out what residents want to see,” Hall said about her first actions to create a new department. “Ultimately, it’s about building and enhancing lives for the individuals in the community and the community in which they live.”
The city currently has a basketball league and is taking registrations for summer camps, and Hall said she plans to build additional programs soon. Coordinating the programs requires assembling the right team.
“Right now our focus is on hiring staff,” Hall said. “The positions are still open and we are accepting applications.”
The department recently held interviews with at least 30 candidates toward that goal.
Once Hall has her team in place, the plan would be to continue fitness activities, cardio, strength training and free weights, as well as possibly launch teen programs at the center.
“My goal right now is to have something for each age group,” Hall said. “I’ve been here a month and we open in a month. We started from the ground up and we have all the hiring to do.”
Hall has a background of 20 years in parks and recreation and working with nonprofits. She began her career in Plano, Texas, and has worked in Seattle and Oklahoma City.
Hall said she wanted the challenge of working in a smaller community, where she would have the opportunity to create a new recreation program from the ground up.
As the city creates its new recreation department, the Public Works department will continue to oversee park maintenance and be involved in the creation of the Orchard Lane Park.
With the community center being next door to the Soledad-Mission Recreation District’s buildings, Hall plans to work in tandem with the district’s director, Frances Bengtson. Both are separate programs, with the district working for the county and the recreation department working for the city.
Before the anticipated June 15 state reopening, Hall said the department would begin summer camps on June 14 and a grand opening is planned for June 26.