Restructuring efforts and new programs are generating customers, community partners and revenue for the City of Wichita Park & Recreation Department.
Spring programs including exercise, cooking, computer, dance and digital photography classes generated nearly 800 new customers and an increase of revenue of $52,000 over the same period in 2010. They brought in 2,830 total customers. Spring programs were highlighted in a new magazine-style activities guide distributed in The Eagle on Feb. 27. The Summer Activities guide will be available in the Sunday Eagle.
Under the recommendation of City Manager Robert Layton, the Wichita City Council approved restructuring the department in 2010. The restructuring followed a $1 million cut to the recreation budget, 10 layoffs and multiple community meetings. The meetings were designed to review existing services and seek residents’ input on desired services.
“We’re moving forward in a way that continues to engage our community and delivers services that residents want or can’t find elsewhere,” Park and Recreation Department Director Doug Kupper said. “Our goal is to continue finding ways to listen to our customers.”
The department has been using Facebook (Wichita Park and Recreation) to further engage residents. It also secured new community partnerships with several local sponsors including Gander Mountain, which will provide a youth outdoor adventure camp; Accent Interiors (home decorating workshops), Waddell & Reed, Inc. (finance workshops); Home Depot (home improvement workshops) and J.P. Weigand & Sons, Inc. realtors (home sales preparation). The department will hire part-time employees for the summer programs, serving as a large provider of summer-job opportunities for teenagers and young adults.