Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities has hired consultancy Green Play to help it plan, budget and assess fee structures for some city programs and is seeking public input in the process.
The group will assist the city “in developing a fiscally responsible process so we can plan proactively for the future,” according to an Aug. 6 letter addressed to community stakeholders and signed by the department’s deputy director, William Chesley.
Green Play and the city are hosting workshops throughout the week at different rec center sites, beginning Monday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at .
The city is paying Green Play approximately $30,000 for the nine-month project.
The Recreation Department wants to review how much certain programs should be subsidized by the city, according to David Miller, division chief of the city’s recreation services, which oversees programming and activities.
For example, he explained, the city favors subsidizing public parks, which are inclusive and can be used by all members of the community. But it is reviewing how much it might subsidize something like a highly competitive swim team requiring its members to earn a spot on the team and so benefiting fewer members of the community.
The city is also looking at some of its afterschool programs housed at city rec centers. The city recently raised the fees of its Power-On! Out of School Time Program from $50 for the year to $250 “based purely on a budget decision,” Miller said, instead of taking cuts to the program.
The low annual fee was prompting parents to register children for the program “in case they needed to use it once or twice a year,” he said, but that made it harder to plan for staffing and other issues to run the program successfully. By working with Green Play on fee assessments, the city will have a methodology behind such increases.
At the workshops the week of Sept. 10, Green Play will explain its methodology in how it plans to help improve the city’s recreation department and its mission and to ask for community input.
The Broomfield, Colo.-based consultancy lists on its website several projects it has worked on including a cost-recovery strategy session for Arlington County, and pricing and recovery workshops for the Bend Metro Parks and Recreation District in Bend, Ore., to help its recreation department set annual fees and validate its pricing structure to citizens and user groups.
To attend the Monday meeting at Cora Kelly, RSVP to Angela Redfearn at 703-746-5466. All meetings will be held 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. throughout the week at the following locations:
- Sept. 11 — 1108 Jefferson St. 6-8:30 p.m.RSVP to Barbara Farrington at 703-746-5533.
- Sept. 12 — William Ramsay Recreation Center, 5650 Sanger Ave.6-8:30 p.m. RSVP to Harold Little at 703-746-5527.
- Sept. 13 — , 901 Wythe St.6-8:30 p.m. RSVP to Sheila Whiting at 703-746-5451.