From: Betsy Leach Date: Apr 04 18:21
As we were dealing with the Parks Department over the upcoming privatization of Conway Rec Center, they kept telling us that the center was under-utilized. As we questioned them about this, we discovered that Parks uses registrations for sports activities and after-school activities as the metric for usage. That is, when people pay to attend events, or participate in sports, they are counted. If they are just stopping in for a pick-up game, or to hang out with friends, if they use the park grounds and stop in to use the restroom or get a drink, they are not counted. If participants at the center are a part of a partner program – such as the senior activities, or our meetings or other community meetings, they don’t get counted… Seems a strange way to assess the impact of a facility on its local community.
Anyway, on one night in late February, we took pictures of the stuff happening at Conway and here’s what we found – kids playing basketball (above), kids learning hip-hop moves, seniors doing art projects, and folks lined up for help from AARP in doing their taxes (below). What we didn’t get photos of were the kids just hanging out in the entry talking with each other and adults, doing homework, or snacking. A couple of pictures are attached.
See what you think makes a successful community center…
From: Phillip Fuehrer Date: Apr 04 21:47
Hmmm – two pictures showing about a score of area residents aged 8 to 80 that apparently “don’t”??? use the rec center.
From: Therese Scherbel Date: Apr 05 17:19
Interesting metrics to determine usage. I’d be happy to register for a program or attend an event if Conway offered anything of interest for me. It seems like you can rig this game as you see fit to get the outcome you want: If you need to close a rec center to save money, and you want to justify it with statistics, simply refuse to offer anything the community wants, and voila, the facility is “under-utilized.”
It makes me wonder what kind of utilization numbers they would see over at Linwood if their program offerings were the same as at Conway. Maybe they should try it.