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Dec. 9, 2019

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Recreation budget cuts look like this

The Columbian
Published: March 30, 2012, 5:00pm

The Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation 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.

This list is not exhaustive, but here are some of the major changes:

Access to recreation

• The youth Sensory Summer Fun Camp was cut. The program served children ages 6 to 12 with autism and other disabilities ,and was the only one of its kind in the metro area.

Youth, family programs

• The Kid’s First free after-school program will not operate in the 2012-2013 school year, unless Vancouver can find a private sponsor.

• The free Summer Playground program will be significantly cut. In the early 2000s, Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation offered this program at 11 locations in Vancouver. In 2011, the program was offered at five locations for four hours, five days a week. The average daily attendance was 60 per site, or 300 overall.

This year, the program will be at eight park locations for two hours, two days a week; no meals will be served. Thanks to grants and donations, Evergreen Park will continue with a five-day, four-hour program with meals.

• Most family outdoor programs — such as hikes, snowshoeing, canoe trips and camp-outs — will no longer be offered.

Teen programs

• Teen programs were among the hardest hit, parks officials said Friday. Among those eliminated is the free Teen Late Night program at the Marshall and Firstenburg centers. The program ran from 8 to 11 p.m. every Friday and served more than 200 teens.

• Hours for teen drop-in times have also been significantly reduced. The Teen Zone at Firstenburg was open 34 hours each week last summer; this summer it will be open only 12 hours each week.

At Marshall’s Safe Positive Outlet for Teens, the schedule was cut from 27 hours a week to 12. The schedules during the upcoming school year will be similarly reduced.

Adult, senior programs

• Adult programs that cover their expenses were for the most part left untouched.

The vast majority of continuing educational classes, such as cooking and gardening, as well as special events such as the Earth Day celebration, health fairs, and the classic car show are gone. Dance, art and music classes are trimmed to only the most well-attended classes.

• Most of the popular senior programs were kept intact, such as senior clubs, hikes and travel programs. However “life enrichment” programs for those 50 and older — such as those that helped seniors stay in touch with technology, learn more about finance or enjoy activities at local recreation centers — are cut.

— Andrea Damewood