Mercer Island

Spring / Summer 2019 Recreation Guide

Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Guide

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Page 4 of 43

UPDATES 206-275-7609 5 MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR: Spring is here, and with that comes change, growth, and excitement for the spring and summer season ahead. I feel fortunate to be part of a community full of lush parks, miles of trails, a top-notch community center and a variety of quality and diverse recreation programming that all tend to blossom and bustle during these months. This season also brings with it some new challenges. Last fall, a property tax measure on the November 2018 ballot did not pass, resulting in a number of reductions. In the Parks and Recreation Department, initial reductions were achieved through staff attrition. Specifically, the decision was made not to fill three full-time staff positions vacated in 2018. The loss of these staff positions necessitated the immediate reduction of recreation programs and services. The bulk of the reductions are one-time special events, including the recent announcement that the City will be eliminating the two-day summer festival, Summer Celebration. Other reductions include elimination of the lifeguard program and a reduction in operating hours at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. Faced with very challenging decisions, our focus remains on preserving core services that serve the greatest number of community members. The maintenance and safety of our parks, playgrounds, and trails remains our top priority. While it is unfortunate to say goodbye to longstanding Island traditions such as Summer Celebration, with it comes the opportunity to create new traditions together and I hope you will join me in doing so. T he Parks & Recreation Department has always relied on involvement from community members to be successful and continues to do so. I urge you to get involved; apply to serve on the new Parks and Recreation Commission, volunteer in a program, engage in a new class, or explore a new trail. Together we can enhance our community by building relationships and supporting the many gifts our Island community has to offer. The Parks and Recreation team will continue to provide great service, outstanding programs and beautifully maintained parks, beaches, and playgrounds. Come join us this season for outdoor fun and adventure and welcome the beauty and change that each new season brings. Jessi Bon, Parks & Recreation Director COMMUNITY EVENTS UPDATE Due to insufficient funding, the reduction of Parks & Recreation staff, and the failure of a property tax measure last fall, the City was forced to make a number of reductions in non-essential programs and services in order to balance the 2019-2020 Biennial Budget. As a result, The Parks & Recreation Department is can no longer provide some well-known community events. While it is unfortunate that we can't get together for these community events, there are many great activities and programs in store for you, including Mostly Music and Shakespeare in the Park. We hope that you will find a new activity, camp, or class for yourself or a family member. Or explore a new beach, park, or trail. See pages 34 & 35 for a listing of all of our parks. The following events will no longer be hosted by the Mercer Island Parks & Recreation Department in 2019: - Leap for Green Fair - Spring Egg Hunts - All Island Track Meet - Summer Celebration Festival - Community Camp Out - Movies in the Park - Tree Lighting & Firehouse Munch - Drop-in Adventure Playground (see camp opportunities on pg. 11)

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