Grant would come in handy

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, March 7, 2013

When the Washington City Council meets Monday, it is scheduled to consider authorizing the Parks and Recreation Department to apply for a $50,000 grant, which would be used to update the city’s recreation master plan.
The council should do more than consider authorization; it should authorize submission of the application. The funding, if awarded to the city, would come from the Community Transformation Grant Project.
The recreation master plan was adopted in 2008. A memorandum from Kristi H. Roberson, the city’s parks and recreation manager, to the council and mayor notes that such plans should be updated every four to five years.
In light of increasing demands on city parks and recreational facilities, it makes sense to update the recreational master plan. Earlier this year, the council learned that participation in sports such as baseball, softball, basketball and soccer is increasing at such a pace that more and more demands are being placed on the city’s sports venues.
In January, the council made it clear it will address some concerns about recreational facilities with a three-pronged approach — immediate, short-term and long term.
That approach is being taken to address an expected increase in demands on those facilities by increased participation and hosting more tournaments. City officials expect the use of baseball/softball fields, soccer fields and basketball courts to increase in the next 12 months to the point where the facilities and city staff are taxed when it comes to meeting that demand.
Acquiring the $50,000 in grant funding and updating the recreation master plan would go a long way in putting the city in position to meet those needs through strategies included in an updated recreation master plan.
With the increased use of the city’s parks and recreational facilities placing more demands on those facilities, the city has no choice but to address those needs. The city must go after that $50,000.