Live chat with parks and rec department set for Friday

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Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation director Pete Mayer will join Columbian.com users for a live Web chat at 10 a.m. Friday, May 11.

Join the chat now.

Mayer will be joined by several staff members for the chat.

It's been a busy few months for the department.

The department, faced with a $1.2 million shortfall this winter, had to cut 22 percent of its recreation budget for spring.

The department retained programs serving 80 percent of the current participation level in youth-teen programs, senior programs, aquatics, sports and tennis.

However, many programs, including those that did not recover what it cost to provide them, were lost.

Read more about the cuts.

Vancouver voters will have a say in the future of city parks and recreation services this November.

The city council on Tuesday, March 27, narrowly agreed to put a property tax levy to create a new Vancouver metropolitan parks district on the Nov. 6 ballot, where it will share space with the presidential election and possibly a C-Tran sales tax measure for light rail and bus rapid transit.

In a 4-3 split, the city council decided to ask for money for the struggling department, which has had its staff cut in half since 2008. The city council would also act as the new park district’s governing board.

Read more about the levy.

Sign up for an email reminder at www.columbian.com/chat, and come back on Friday to participate in the event. Login with Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or MySpace will be required to leave questions or comments, but anyone can watch the action.