A standing-room only crowd came out Monday for a public forum on the future of Parks and Recreation programming, held at Manhattan Fire HQ.
Manhattan in June had announced the possibility of programs being modified or suspended depending on the city’s revenue picture into Fall and Winter, leading to organization and conversation around the topic by numerous residents including local educator Josh Runyan.
Comments stressed the importance of Parks and Rec offerings for lower income residents, and pushed for the department to better engage with the community to foster volunteer opportunities as well as sponsorships to support programs.
Numerous speakers at Monday’s Special Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting pointed to management issues as the cause for questions surrounding city programming in the Fall and Winter.
That’s Dennis Mullen, speaking during the public forum in Manhattan Fire HQ Monday evening.
The meeting was called in response to public concern about department programming. The City in June had announced the possibility of programs being modified or suspended depending on the city’s revenue picture.
Some speakers alluded to a work culture in the city they called toxic, calling for commissioners to investigate further. Other remarks strongly urged the need to prioritize recruiting sponsors and volunteers. Here’s Grace Stanfield:
Interim Director Wyatt Thompson acknowledged the need to improve, though asked for patience as they plot a course forward while rebuilding a depleted staff.
Thompson also acknowledged numerous remarks concerned about privatization in the department, saying that’s not an idea being pushed within staff.
Parks and Rec Board Chair Ed Klimek encouraged the public to stay engaged in the process in closing remarks, and that this isn’t the end of the conversation.
Community members filled the meeting space in Manhattan Fire HQ Monday, sharing concerns and ideas for the future of Parks and Rec programming. Manhattan in June had announced the possibility of programs being modified or suspended depending on the city’s revenue picture into Fall and Winter, leading to organization and conversation around the topic by numerous residents.
Klimek was joined by fellow Member Sue Maes in advocating that Parks and Rec better utilize the expertise on the Board going forward to keep city programs running.
The next Parks and Rec Advisory Board meeting is Monday, August 1 at 4:30 p.m. in Manhattan City Hall.
To hear the full meeting, listen below: