Business plan

Parks and Rec Seeks Comments on Business Plan | New

A consultant will report to the public on Friday on Newport’s recreation and senior services facilities, with findings including “excess facility capacity,” more recreation staff compared to other towns of a similar size.

The City of Newport Parks and Recreation Department is developing a five-year business plan for the operation of the Recreation Center, Aquatic Center and 60+ Center.

The city hired national management consulting firm BerryDunn last November to help finalize the business plan, and the company is now ready to share early findings in a public forum.

“In my opinion, you have a little more facility capacity relative to your population,” BerryDunn project manager Jeff Milkes told the city’s parks and recreation advisory committee before presenting initial findings. at a meeting on May 24. result, it’s always going to be a little challenge. In other words, are there enough Newport residents who desire a certain level of recreation service to support these wonderful facilities? »

The good news, said Milkes, is that there are “many opportunities, whether it’s the tourism market, whether it’s making small changes, finding ways to reinvest in facilities . All of these things have opportunities for you. So I don’t want to paint a gloomy picture for you, I just want to share the data as we see it.

The company also found that the department had more than twice the number of employees in the recreation division than cities of comparable size, while it had fewer administrators — one to four.

Milkes stressed that the findings were preliminary – no decision has been made and further public input will be essential to confirm and refine the consultant’s report.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Cavanaugh told The News-Times that it’s difficult to gauge Newport’s needs based on a comparison with other cities because few cities its size have the scale of its facilities. He also highlighted the importance of community input to finalize the business plan.

BerryDunn will present its first results to the public during a forum at the recreation centre. The forum begins at 6 p.m. tonight, June 3.

“Their presentation will focus on what was learned from the community engagement process, results from a community-wide survey, community demographics, national, state and local trends that may have a impact on the Newport community in the future, and a detailed analysis of the recreation programs,” according to a city press release.

Despite the consultant’s preliminary findings of overstaffing, these findings refer to the total number of posts in the ministry’s budget, not the posts filled. Parks and Recreation, like other municipal departments, face chronic vacancies.

In the department’s April report, aquatic center director Keeley Naughton noted that programs and events were limited that month due to a lack of staff.

“We still have five vacant lifeguard positions, which has made it very difficult to fill lifeguard shifts this month,” Naughton reported. “We are constantly one sick call away from having to close the pool.”