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Future of MHK Parks and Rec being evaluated

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Manhattan Parks and Recreation logo(WIBW)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 12:59 PM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Starting with Fall 2022 sports, the Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department, along with City Management are determining what youth sports programming the Parks and Rec Department will be able to offer.

According to city officials limited staffing for scorekeepers, referees and facility supervisors are among the deciding factors for which programs can be offered.

As of June 23rd, the City of Manhattan and the Parks and Rec Department plan to offer fall volleyball and flag football, along with other programs. However, these programs may be modified or suspended depending on available resources throughout the scheduled program dates.

City staff may start accepting youth league registrations and would schedule games, with the contingency that parents or other volunteers would have to serve as referees or scorekeepers.

“We simply are not able to recruit, hire, or retain employees like we did pre-pandemic,” said City Manager Ron Fehr. “We understand Manhattan residents take pride in and have supported improvements to many of our parks and recreational facilities. However, we have been challenged with workforce shortages and reduced revenues that may not allow us to continue to provide the same recreational opportunities that we historically have offered.”

City officials plan to maintain a high quality of life for residents while continuing to offer modified services dependent on availability of staff or volunteers along with the resources and funding needed to continue the programs.

“Over the last year, we have shifted to volunteer-led programming in adult sports as well as youth soccer, which has been a successful transition,” said Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Wyatt Thompson.

“The City provides and manages sports facilities, fields, and certain equipment to accommodate these programs. City staff, in some cases, manages online registration, reserves facilities, and assists with scheduling, while community groups and volunteers coordinate management of the programs, including scorekeeping, refereeing, and coaching duties. This model has reduced City expenses, allowing us to continue facilitating these programs that our community enjoys.”

If the City cannot provide staffing or funding for other youth programs and activities, programs with low enrollment will be suspended.

The City plans to evaluate the parks and recreational facilities programs and activities throughout 2022 to determine the position and future of the Parks and Recreation Department.

More information about the City can be found online at www.cityofmhk.com, or by following the City on Facebook @cityofmanhattan or Twitter @cityofmhk.

The Parks and Recreation Department website is www.mhkprd.com. Find the latest information about Rec programs on Facebook @manhattanparksandrec or Twitter @ManhattanPRD.

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