Finance and Economic Development Committee
February 22, 2010
12:00 – 12:57 p.m.
Jason Hearn, Andy Ryder
Scott Spence, Lori Flemm, Troy Woo, Scott Egger, Rick Walk, Brad Burdick, Carol Litten Councilmember Hearn moved to approve the agenda. Councilmember Ryder seconded. Motion carried. Summer Lunch Program and Playground Pals
Lori Flemm, Parks and Recreation Director, and Kathy Owens, Recreation Supervisor, presented the Committee with a funding strategy to secure $12,000 from outside funds to operate the 2010 Summer Lunch Program at Pleasant Glade, Lydia Hawk and Mountain View Elementary Schools.
Lori reported the City has sponsored the Summer Lunch Program since 1993 in partnership with the North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS). The program offers a hot lunch to children from noon – 12:30, and a snack from 3:00 – 3:30. Following lunch, the Parks Department sponsors Playground Pals which offers fun activities, arts and crafts, games, fitness and a summer reading program. The program runs for eight weeks, Monday – Friday.
The USDA Child Nutrition Program provides reimbursement for the hot lunches, snacks and cooks to prepare the food. Lacey contracts with NTPS Food and Nutrition Services to prepare and cook the meals. Federal grants awarded to NTPS and the City as a partner (Schools for the 21st Century) provided funds covering the cost of coordinating the Playground Pals program, and NTPS part-time custodial staff, required to prepare the food. In 2009, the Child Nutrition Program Account included $62,612 in reimbursable federal funds to purchase and prepare the food. In 2009, the Schools for the 21st Century Grant provided $25,810 for the three sites.
Lori reported that in 2010, this grant has been reduced to $10,000, leaving a gap of $15,800. Staff has implemented several cuts to the program and reduced the deficit to $12,000. Staff has considered additional options to address the funding shortfall, including:
- Initiating a fee for Playground Pals, although those attending most likely could not afford it
- Partnering with service providers, such as AmeriCorps, for labor
- Recruiting volunteers, although not as readily-available and dependable as staff
- Soliciting donations from community service groups and individuals
- Partnering with the Thurston County Food Bank to deliver sack lunches to the elementary school playgrounds
- Soliciting sponsors for the program
- Soliciting sponsors for other programs and transferring budgeted funds into this program
Kathy reported the City has secured a $500 sponsor for Arbor Day and will transfer $500 from the Arbor Day budget to the Playground Pals budget. In addition, $450 has been raised from individual donations.
Councilmembers Andy Ryder and Jason Hearn suggested meeting with local community service organizations to solicit funds. Jason offered to highlight the issue in his organization’s monthly magazine and Andy offered to help supplement any shortage remaining after April 15 with a donation from his business. Staff will arrange speaking engagements with community organizations to raise funds from March through April 15, and thanked Committee members for their support. Regional Athletic Complex (RAC): Tournaments and Economic Impact
Lori Flemm, Parks and Recreation Director, reported that in 2010, the Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) will host tournaments that draw visitors to Lacey and provide athletic fields for local teams for league play and practice. In addition, the RAC will serve as a venue for special events, such as the Mushroom Festival.
Lori stated the Parks and Recreation Department accepted RAC Facility Requests for 2010 tournaments through November 2009. Tournaments have been booked on the baseball/softball/fast pitch fields on 47 of the 52 weekends. Staff is trying to accommodate requests that are still being received and schedule as much play as possible on the RAC field and in partnership with the Skyhawks Park adjacent to Nisqually Middle School. Lori noted that the synthetic turf on five of the fields allows for year-round play.
Lori reported that two major tournaments will be held at the RAC in 2010 which include the ASA 10U State Fast pitch Championships on July 3-4 and the SSUSA Western National Senior Softball Tournament on July 9-18. Puget Sound Collegiate Baseball League has booked field five at the RAC several evenings and weekends in June and July. Seven tournaments have also been booked on the six soccer/football/rugby fields. The RAC also serves as the home field for the St. Martin’s University and South Puget Sound Community College soccer programs.
Lori noted that the bookings include five local tournaments, 53 from outside Thurston County, and 86 from locations further than 50 miles from Lacey. The City is working with the VCB (Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau) to promote the RAC, local tourist attractions, lodging and dining.
Lori reported that revenue is generated by league play, concessions, field rental fees, special events rentals, and lodging tax funds from the Public Facilities District. The City is creating partnerships with tournament directors and Skyhawks Park to discuss recruitment of national tournaments, although Phase 3 may need to be completed to accommodate larger events. It is anticipated the economic impact of the Senior Softball Western Championship is projected to be $1.1 million over nine days with 85 teams in play.
The Committee thanked staff for their outstanding efforts in promoting the RAC.