Portage parks shifts from 'quantity to quality'

2014-02-20T00:00:00Z Portage parks shifts from 'quantity to quality'Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Portage Park Department Superintendent Jenny Orsburn said 2013 was a year her department focused on quality, not quantity.

She told the Park Board this week that several "pass through" programs were cut last year so the department could focus on providing less expensive programs to the community.

The elimination of programs and the loss of the Portage Yacht Club as a rental facility, she said, were the primary reasons the department's revenue dropped 21 percent over the previous year. Revenues collected by the department in 2012 were $533,942. In 2013, the number dropped to $424,870.

Expenses in the same categories also decreased from $498,757 in 2013 to $458,341 in 2013.

The largest decreases in revenue were seen in programs and bar/concession services.

Orsburn said facility rentals were up in 2013 except for the Oakwood Grand Hall where they dropped.

She credited the increase in rentals to changes in policy, allowing two rentals per day in the facilities and not forcing people to choose a caterer if they wanted to have food at an event.

The use of the Oakwood hall decreased, Orsburn said, because they decided to leave the soccer turf down except for major events.

"We weren't getting the big wedding receptions for that hall," she said.

Orsburn said while cutting the number of programs held at the parks, participation at the programs, from the Christmas Craft Show to Haunted Hayride, increase in 2013.

During her presentation, Orsburn said the parks saw several improvements, including the addition of the elevator at the community center, implementing a turf grass management plan at Imagination Glen Soccer Complex, adding an fountain at the Countryside Park pond and completing a trail operation and maintenance plan.

In 2014, Orsburn said they intend to increase rentals; grow the soccer and sports programs; provide more community events; expand the preschool to include summer programming and continue to make improvements to the facilities.

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