Recreation ProgramThe City's recreation program has many facets, including both facilities and programs. We are fortunate to have a wealth of recreation facilities, including the Kirkland Gym, numerous playgrounds, trails, parks, and athletic facilities to host baseball, softball, football, soccer, basketball, tennis, and shuffleboard. On Lake Wailes we have a fishing pier, the Pram Fleet’s youth sailing program, and a boat ramp that is being renovated. A skatepark and a soccer/multi-purpose sports complex are under construction, and the second phase of the trail (from Kiwanis Park to Buck Moore Road) is on the drawing boards.
Because the City has been successful in obtaining grants for facilities, and with other resources such as the recreation impact fee funds, the City has been able to improve existing facilities and add new facilities in recent years.
However, funding for recreation programs and maintenance of parks and recreation facilities comes from the City's General fund. In this year’s budget, $1,045,060 is included for parks and recreation programs and facilities. As previously noted in this space, the General Fund has been hard hit with both tax reform revenue cutbacks as well as revenue shortfalls due to the poor condition of the economy. At the same time, the cost of providing services in increasing.
For the past few years the City's recreation program has consisted of four elements:
- Operating the Albert Kirkland Sr. Gym, consisting of the gym and weight room;
- Conducting the Junior Magic Basketball Program, for youth 6 – 15 years old;
- Providing support for numerous recreation programs run by other organizations such as Little League Baseball, youth football leagues, adult softball, and shuffleboard. This support typically involves the provision of fields and funding for insurance, maintenance, and utilities such as lighting and irrigation. The City also has made arrangements with the Boys and Girls Club, the Little Theatre, the Pram Fleet, and the Railroad Club, that enables those organizations to occupy their city-owned buildings at no cost. In exchange, these organizations offer wonderful programs and the Boys and Girls Club and the Little Theatre pay for the on-going building operations and maintenance costs; and
- Special programs, such as spring break camp, summer camp, and support for the Charter School program for summer school.
Planning for the FutureIn order to continue recreation programs and support services in this era of budget cutbacks, a great deal of planning and coordination will be needed. City staff will ask the City’s Recreation Advisory Board to call a special meeting in the next 60 days to formulate a plan. It is hoped that a good turnout of citizens will work with league volunteers to discuss new ideas. A major area of emphasis will be on raising funds for these programs and services in this new area of budget cutbacks. Please watch the newspapers for an announcement of this important meeting. All interested persons will be cordially invited to attend.