It is with a great sense of despair that we look to the proposed dismantling of our Park and Recreation Department as an extremely grave option to deal with the financial quicksand due to COVID-19. Once this service is depleted, it will not return.
Having been intimately involved with these public servants for many years, the destruction of the department is truly horrific.
The department serves more than 150,000 participants of our community with recreation programming yearly. The list of services and support provided at our Senior Center is too long to list in this letter. There are no adequate words to express the devastating loss to our children and elderly. These dedicated, tenacious and compassionate staff people cannot be replaced by private enterprise.
Yearly, the maintenance staffing maintains 55 parks, two boat docks, two boat launches, 32 miles of public trails, BMX track, two amphitheaters, a skatepark, 33 playgrounds, 140 miles of street medians, and 55,000 street trees. These services cannot be replicated under the current proposal. These dedicated tenacious and compassionate staff cannot provide these service at the proposed level of staffing.
To take a small department of 39 people who do so much and reduce the staffing by 16 and dissolve the department lacks foresight and is without precedent. Surely our elected leaders can work to find a more palatable solution. I have faith they will.
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