Sharing the parks and recreation load: Jefferson County hopes to hand off programs at meeting tonight

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — As funding for parks and recreation has decreased, Jefferson County is reaching out to the community to sponsor programs it can no longer support.

“We need to examine the ways we can continue to support recreation programming and issue invitations for partners to take over these programs or find a way to replace what the county is no longer able to continue,” said County Administrator Philip Morley during a county commissioners’ meeting Monday.

“We need to hand off as many programs as we can so we can keep these services, educating the public about the problems so they can be part of the solution.”

A meeting to discuss the state of Jefferson County recreation options and possible solutions takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at the Cotton Building, 607 Water St., Port Townsend.

Morley said the agenda for the meeting was still under development but will include an item by item “walk through” of park programs and facilities and a discussion about which organizations could become partners.

Morley said that every potential recreation provider in the county has been invited to the meeting and will hopefully help to develop potential solutions.

The need for renewed funding stems from the expiration of funds originating from a sales tax increase approved by voters in 2010 and set to expire in 2015.

An levy lid lift or other voter-approved measure is one of the options, according to the county.

That increase allowed the reopening of the Port Townsend Recreational Center and supported Memorial Field, both of which are now threatened by the money cutoff.

Aside from the expiration of the sales tax increase, the urgency results from the inability of an exploratory committee to present a viable plan to create a metropolitan parks district.

The affected programs along with their projected participants are Kid Fit, 470 participants; Grant Street after school, 55; Blue Heron pick up soccer, 21; Kids Day Camp during the summer and winter breaks, 250; Jr. CIT program, 26; Kinder Camp, 23; Kinder Sports, 16; wrestling camp, 22; basketball camp, 42; Special Olympics basketball, 20; Quilcene Middle School cheerleading, 10.

Also, Friday morning Pre-K Playgroup (Bouncy Castle), 300; Friday Night Family Fun Nights, 300; and 3-on-3 basketball tournament, 25.

Morley said public support could take the form of program operation where another organization takes over its management, or providing a funding source so the county can continue operation of the respective programs.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 16. 2013 6:47PM
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