The Sunnyside City Council at its workshop meeting last night was impressed with a proposal by Sunnyside's Promise Director Mark Baysinger that would provide recreational opportunities for local residents.
City Manager Mark Gervasi said the organization developed the proposal as a result of discussions he entered into with Baysinger and other members of Sunnyside's Promise.
Baysinger proposed organizing a number of recreational programs at the Sunnyside Community Center, using funding provided by the city of Sunnyside. That funding, he said, would be recuperated through recreation fees.
"I think we're getting better at what we're doing," said Baysinger, noting the organization has been developing programming for youth over the past few years.
Sunnyside's Promise has operated the community center, opening it to the community with funding from the city at a fraction of the cost the city would pay others, said Baysinger.
Baysinger said his proposal includes three-year goals and metrics. He also presented a resource guide much like those developed in other communities. The guide outlines various activities and programs like cooking classes, sports programs, Zumba classes and others that Sunnyside's Promise believes it can coordinate if the council approves funding.
"We are looking at how we are providing services and have a plan," he said, stating the organization has accomplished many goals in the past with very little financial backing.
"Our haunted house, for example...that was a big hit," said Baysinger, noting this past October Sunnyside's Promise was able to provide a haunted house with the help of volunteers and donations.
In the list of proposed programs, he said, is a youth baseball program that would not require paid umpires because it would involve parents serving as pitchers.
Baysinger provided the council members with a chart that details hours and staffing needed for each program being proposed, as well as equipment.
He said the fees are structured based on past parks and recreation fees. The anticipation is that the fees would provide funding to reimburse the city's investment, as well as pay for a coordinator.
Baysinger also believes there will be monies left to help offset the next program.
One program added to the proposal is what has been termed "Silver Sneakers." That program is aimed at serving seniors in the community. The proposed fee is a donation, and Baysinger said the participants can voice their opinion on what activities they would enjoy.
Doug Rogers is on both the Sunnyside's Promise board and the Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Commission. He told the council there are three key elements when the council considers funding, explaining $130,000 would be needed. That would ensure operations of Sunnyside's Promise, continued operation of the community center "...and the final $30,000 for the front side of the programs proposed."
Rogers said Sunnyside's Promise anticipates the number of sign-ins for the 2011 year will reach 20,000 by the end of the month. More than 18,000 sign-ins have already been recorded.
"We are serving a lot of people," he said.
Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Kari Zapata also spoke to the council, stating the commission gives its full support to the proposed programs.
"Knowing the city funds are short, it is our belief that running 12 to 13 programs at the cost of $30,000 to be reimbursed can't be beat," she said.
Deputy Mayor Nick Paulakis said he believes the plan is a good one, but he also believes the city should help with equipment costs.
Baysinger said the plan includes "safety nets" to cover any equipment costs.
"Our hope is also that anyone who serves as coordinator can find scholarships (for youth unable to pay the fees)," he said.
"Also built in is the ability to pay the city, coordinator and still have funding to roll over into the next program," said Baysinger.
Councilman Don Vlieger expressed his pleasure at the proposal. "I think this is outstanding...this is what council's been saying 'come to us with'."
Council members Mike Farmer and Theresa Hancock also expressed pleasure at the proposal.
"This is the perfect blend for me for recreation and prevention," said Hancock.
The Sunnyside City Council members agreed to take action on the proposal based on recommendations made by Gervasi at the Monday, Dec. 12, regular city council meeting.