Planning for the Future: Recreation and the Mercer Island Community and Events Center (MICEC)

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Background

In the Spring of 2020, the City temporarily closed the Mercer Island Community and Events Center (MICEC), suspending all facility operations and recreation programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the number of facilities and recreation staff were reduced significantly. While the pandemic was the primary cause of this action, the City had been working to improve the financial sustainability of its recreation services for several years.

As the community looks toward the post-pandemic future, now is the time to pick up the blank slate and start planning for a “reset” in recreation and at MICEC.

The quantity and types of programs and services that will be offered in the future will need to meet community desires in a financially sustainable way. (Note: Park maintenance operations are not being reviewed as part of this effort.)

Current Work

A consultant-led staff team has been tasked with developing a “reset plan” for recreation and the MICEC. The team has begun analyzing past programs, services, revenues, costs, residents’ participation patterns and interests, community needs, opportunities, and challenges.

The team’s goal is to provide the Parks and Recreation Commission and the City Council with recommendations on how to begin offering programs and services as the pandemic becomes less of an obstacle.

The team’s work products will likely include a cost recovery and resource allocation philosophy, which will be used to guide budget development and describe financial performance targets for future services. The team will also develop a pricing strategy for program offerings, and an initial framework for determining what services to provide. This work will be challenging; much of it will be supported by available data but some of it will fundamentally rest on expressed community values and priorities. That is where the team could use your input!

Fill out the survey, share your feedback, or participate in one of the Parks and Recreation Commission Public Meetings and help the team know what programs and services the City should provide.


Background

In the Spring of 2020, the City temporarily closed the Mercer Island Community and Events Center (MICEC), suspending all facility operations and recreation programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the number of facilities and recreation staff were reduced significantly. While the pandemic was the primary cause of this action, the City had been working to improve the financial sustainability of its recreation services for several years.

As the community looks toward the post-pandemic future, now is the time to pick up the blank slate and start planning for a “reset” in recreation and at MICEC.

The quantity and types of programs and services that will be offered in the future will need to meet community desires in a financially sustainable way. (Note: Park maintenance operations are not being reviewed as part of this effort.)

Current Work

A consultant-led staff team has been tasked with developing a “reset plan” for recreation and the MICEC. The team has begun analyzing past programs, services, revenues, costs, residents’ participation patterns and interests, community needs, opportunities, and challenges.

The team’s goal is to provide the Parks and Recreation Commission and the City Council with recommendations on how to begin offering programs and services as the pandemic becomes less of an obstacle.

The team’s work products will likely include a cost recovery and resource allocation philosophy, which will be used to guide budget development and describe financial performance targets for future services. The team will also develop a pricing strategy for program offerings, and an initial framework for determining what services to provide. This work will be challenging; much of it will be supported by available data but some of it will fundamentally rest on expressed community values and priorities. That is where the team could use your input!

Fill out the survey, share your feedback, or participate in one of the Parks and Recreation Commission Public Meetings and help the team know what programs and services the City should provide.

  • Key Policy Questions Posed by this Project

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    31 Dec 2020

    There are many policy-related questions inherent in this project. Here are a few the team, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the City Council will likely wrestle with:

    • To what extent should recreation programs and services, and MICEC costs be taxpayer supported, as opposed to being paid for by participants or users? Does that extent vary depending on if the service is deemed to be a core service rather than a discretionary one, or if the service benefits individuals more than groups or the community as a whole?
    • Should specific populations be the target audience or recipient of a larger share of the City’s recreational programming or MICEC use? If so, who are those populations?
    • Should the way the City charges for programs and services reflect the mission, values, and vision for recreation services? If so, how?
    • What is the City’s role and responsibility for recreation (or as a recreation center or events center) in Mercer Island? How can the new portfolio of programs and services reflect that role and responsibility?