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U.P. parks department slowly winds down

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The City’s budget shortfall will see some big changes to University Place by the end of the year in particular in regard to the Recreation Department, which will be shutting down at the end of the year.
The City Council announced its intention last October to end a $400,000 subsidy from the general fund to fund Recreation costs that aren’t fully covered by fees. The announcement came as the Council sought cuts and fees to cover a projected budget deficit.
Last spring, citizens voted down a ballot measure that would have seen the formation of a parks district to operate the local parks and recreation programs that are currently set to end at the end of the year. Despite a petition that gathered more than 2,900 signatures, the measure failed with about 64 percent of votes rejecting the measure.
Without a solution in sight, the Parks & Recreation Department at the City will shut down its various programs and events effective on Jan. 1, 2017. Without proper funding for the department, there is no way to continue them. Parks will continue being maintained by the City, but the programs that populate them will be gone.
Programs like flag football, indoor soccer, dance classes, senior programs and trips & tours will continue through the year. “Most of our classes will have sessions that will run through mid-December, but all programs will stop as of Dec. 31, 2016,” Parks & Recreation Manager Todd Smith said. “To help serve the community’s needs, we’re guiding residents toward program providers in our surrounding areas.” A list of options for regional recreation providers is available at www.CityofUP.com.
Be sure to keep an eye on the University Place Press for more information.

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