Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 19, 2014

Park board and Y discuss management

By Xiomara Levsen | Jan 10, 2014
The Washington Park Board and the Washington Community Y discussed the Y possibly taking over management of the Washington Steele Family Aquatic Center.

The Washington Park Board met with officials from the Washington Community Y on Wednesday, Jan. 8, to discuss funding for the summer baseball and softball programs and the proposal of the Washington Community Y taking over the management of the aquatic center.
The city has had the Washington Community Y manage the baseball and softball programs for many years, said park superintendent Tim Widmer. In other communities cities have a parks manager and a recreation manager, Widmer said. Washington does not, which is why the Washington Community Y has managed the summer baseball and softball programs.
At the meeting Wednesday the amount paid for the management of the programs came up. Widmer said the fee has been $17,000 annually.
“Last year the Babe Ruth program dwindled to nothing,” Widmer said. “The boys begin playing at the high school level and the city wants to reduce the amount paid to the Y.”
Director of the Washington County YMCA Becky Harkema said there were 178 softball and baseball players in the program last year. There were nine Cal Ripken teams and seven girls’ softball teams. Harkema declined to comment about the fees for the management of the city’s baseball and softball programs until the city council makes a decision about it.
Josh Riffel, who is in charge of the summer baseball and softball programs at the Washington Community Y, was unavailable for comment.
The city council will have to discuss the fee for managing the softball and baseball program during its budget session, said city administrator Brent Hinson.
The second item on the agenda was the discussion of having the Washington Community Y take over the management of the Washington Aquatic Center for $7,000. This would begin as a one-year contract with the possibility of adding a two-year extension, Hinson said. This will be on the agenda at the next city council meeting.
The city was approached by officials from the Y last year to take over the management but the budget was already set the city said they would look into this year, he said.
“If this goes through, they’d [the Washington Community Y] do all of the hiring,” Widmer said. “They’re looking to hire an aquatic director, who would work at both places.”
No decisions about either item were made and ultimately the decision would be up to the city council, Widmer said.
The budget for the park board was also on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, but there wasn’t much time to discuss that, Widmer said. It will be discussed further at the next meeting.
The next park board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

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