Sam-O Park ... A Diamond in the Rough
Sam-O Park is located at the east end of Baker Street. It encompasses approximately 3.34 acres. Sam-O Park is located in the site of a hot springs. Amenities on the property include Sam-O Swim Center, a skate park, gazebo, green space, and a basketball court that can be converted to an ice skating rink in the winter.
Sam-O Swim Center was constructed in 1985 with the support of City taxpayers and generous Baker County area citizens. The hot springs are used to assist in heating of the swim center. The swim center has been under the management of the Baker County YMCA for many years. The YMCA offers many programs at the swim center including lap swim, water aerobics, and yoga. The swim center is also utilized by many groups including the 5-J School District, Elkhorn Adolescent, and Special Olympics. More information can be obtained regarding swim center activities and schedules by contacting the YMCA at (541) 523-9622 or by visiting their website.
Adjacent to Sam-O Swim Center there is a gazebo that features a permanent picnic table and a large green space. This area as well is maintained by the YMCA. It could be used for small to medium gatherings, birthday parties, or for badminton, croquet, or other lawn activity.
In the mid 1990's Baker City designed and constructed a basketball court southeast of the swim center. The design of the court slopes slightly toward the center with a drain line attached. This helps to keep water from accumulating on the court. In the winter, with the drain plugged, the court can be flooded, creating Baker City's only ice skating rink.
Also around the mid 1990's the City constructed what would be the first of many phases of the Sam-O Skate Park. The City, various organizations, and many individuals have worked to provide expansion of the skate park through fund raising, grant applications, and volunteering labor and equipment. The Sam-O Skate Park continues to be a work in progress. Local businesses and citizens continue to work with the City in efforts to improve and expand the skate park.