When I ran for re-election, many islanders told me they wanted recreational programs again. When the Park District conducted its $30,000 survey of island priorities two year ago, the return of recreational programs was the top priority, even higher than covering the pool.
Unfortunately, managing Park District expenses, while addressing urgent deferred maintenance issues and building a reasonable reserve, has delayed our ability to offer recreational programs to the community. However, now that we have an adequate reserve and our expenses under control, we are committed to creating recreational programs in 2019. That is why the Park Board voted to invest $100,000 in these programs next year.
Our challenge is what to offer. Many of the programs that previously were under the Park District umbrella have moved-on and no longer need our help.
Unlike many politicians, we did not claim to know what the community wanted. So we had a well-publicized Open House to seek community input and only five people attended, with two emails received. In addition, Karen Gardner and Abby Antonelis have reached-out to the Senior Center and other groups, and still are seeking suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com .
While the Park District is committed to provide programs for all groups, it is especially interested in offering programs for seniors (our fastest growing demographic group) and the disabled (a very undeserved group). To be clear, the $100,000 investment is to subsidize 25-75% of these program costs, so everyone in the community has access.
That is why I am writing this final plea for ideas. To be clear, this only is about recreational programs. We already have money in the budget for the pool and our parks/fields to serve our youth sports programs. The question is do we really want a Parks and Recreation District, or just a Parks District. I also look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Vice Chairman
Vashon Park and Recreation District