Recreation Committee

March 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Recreation Committee
Feb. 7, 2018

Present: Council members Tres Roeder (chair), Sean Malone, Julianna Senturia; Lisa Cremer, school board member; citizen members Leta Obertacz, Ifeolu Clayton, Troy Neujahr, Dr. Terry Breeden; Alexandria Nichols, Director of Recreation; and Jeri Chaikin, Chief Administrative Officer

Mr. Roeder called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. Minutes of the Nov. 1, 2017, meeting were approved as written. Mr. Roeder welcomed the new citizen members, including several who are relatively new to Shaker. He noted that city committees are typically reorganized every two years. He also welcomed school board member Lisa Cremer, whose presence on the committee will deepen the collaboration between the city and the schools.

Goal of tonight’s meeting is to provide an overview of Recreation, its primary functions, its 2017 accomplishments, and a look ahead to 2018 budget highlights and initiatives – through a PowerPoint presented by Ms. Nichols.

The Recreation Department provides leisure time and recreation activities for residents and nonresidents of all ages, including child care, sports, and services for senior adults 50+.

Ms. Nichols began her overview by listing the primary department functions, which range from summer camps to school-age child care, to sports programs and the Office for Senior Adults and also include community events, field maintenance, and playground maintenance and supervision.

Among 2017 accomplishments were changes to school-age child care with the creation of full-time site supervisors – rather than part-time – to increase staff stability. Pop up fitness programs in some community parks were introduced and had a good response – and will be increased in 2018.

The Thornton Park Ice Rink is now 50 years old and proposals are being solicited for an engineering study to begin planning for the rink’s future. A teen afterschool program called The Getaway was created at Heights Christian Church. Mr. Roeder and Ms. Nichols reviewed the careful research done, in collaboration with the school system, the Youth Center and the Library, in an effort to make sure it would meet community needs. The program started in late fall, as a drop-in program five days a week from 3 to 7 p.m. Interest in the program is growing. The program is teen driven – a Teen Advisory Board will be created in 2018. On another front, a Community Engagement staff person will be hired in 2018 to build neighborhood involvement in recreation (for example, through pop up wellness programs).

2018 Capital projects for recreation total $412,000, including $280,000 for park improvements – a significant increase from last year. Most of the other capital expenditures involve improvements at Thornton Park, including a walking trail and the design of an improved pool entry. Community input will be sought on park capital spending.

An 11-page Recreation Department 2017 Action Plan was also circulated indicating program and function goals for 2017 and comments on their completion or progress.

Committee members asked about the total operating budget for recreation – about $4 million, with $1 million in city support. Seventeen full-time employees increase to 150 in the summer, including many part-time employees.

Ms. Nichols closed the meeting by alerting committee members to a future discussion topic: a review of field maintenance, including policies regarding the use of pesticides and herbicides.

The committee meeting was adjourned at 7 p.m.
Jan Devereaux

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