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.

Current Work

A consultant-led staff team has been tasked with developing a “reset plan” for recreation and the MICEC as the community looks toward a post-pandemic future. The team, along with the Parks & Recreation Commission, has been analyzing past programs and services, revenues and costs, community needs, opportunities, and challenges. This work has helped to develop program assessment tools, focus our services to best support our community, and establish a cost recovery and resource allocation philosophy and pricing strategy, among other project outcomes.

Moving Forward

The team has developed a plan on how to begin offering programs and services as the pandemic becomes less of an obstacle and we move on to our "new normal." This strategy will help guide future recreation programming and the use of our parks system and the MICEC.

Explore this page for updates to the recreation reset process, news as we expand programs and services, and the materials shared with the Commission and Council along the way.


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.

Current Work

A consultant-led staff team has been tasked with developing a “reset plan” for recreation and the MICEC as the community looks toward a post-pandemic future. The team, along with the Parks & Recreation Commission, has been analyzing past programs and services, revenues and costs, community needs, opportunities, and challenges. This work has helped to develop program assessment tools, focus our services to best support our community, and establish a cost recovery and resource allocation philosophy and pricing strategy, among other project outcomes.

Moving Forward

The team has developed a plan on how to begin offering programs and services as the pandemic becomes less of an obstacle and we move on to our "new normal." This strategy will help guide future recreation programming and the use of our parks system and the MICEC.

Explore this page for updates to the recreation reset process, news as we expand programs and services, and the materials shared with the Commission and Council along the way.

  • Recreation Reset Strategy In Action!

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    In July 2021, the City Council endorsed the Recreation Reset Strategy and directed staff to implement the plan. Since that time, program offerings, hours of operation, and services at the Community Center have continued to expand.

    The Recreation Division will continue to appear before the Parks & Recreation Commission as policies are development according to the Reset Strategy, including about topics such as athletic field reservations, special event permitting, and the appropriate use of parks on Mercer Island. Additionally, staff will regularly 'report-in' on Reset Strategy goals, such cost recovery targets and program assessment results.

  • The MICEC Re-Opens!

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    On January 4, 2022, the Mercer Island Community & Event Center will officially reopen to the public! After many months of modified operations, we are excited to expand services, building hours, and access to the community.

    We're thrilled to offer fitness room access, meeting room rentals, an open game room and indoor playground starting in January.

    Full details on our new drop-in activity schedule can be found here. And come on by January 4-8 for coffee, snacks, and giveaways, as you enjoy spending time in the Center again. We can't wait to see you!

  • Mercer Island Visual Arts League Gallery Show at MICEC

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    Artwork has returned to the Mercer Island Community & Event Center! The facility's art gallery is hosting a familiar holiday tradition by the Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL). The gallery show is one of the services laid out in the Recreation Reset Plan's phases for offerings in 2021. We hope you'll check us out!

    Gallery hours:

    Tuesday - Thursday, 10:00am - 7:00pm

    Friday - Sunday, 10:00am - 5:00pm


  • Parks & Recreation Commission to consider policy issues on October 7

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    The Parks & Recreation Commission will consider two policy issues at their regular meeting on October 7, 2021. City staff will present a final draft of the Recreation Division's Differential Pricing Policy and propose a draft of the Mercer Island Community & Event Center Facility Allocation & Use Policy. Both of these policy items were identified during the creation of the Reset Strategy as crucial components to a sustainable future. Commissioners will be asked to provide feedback and have the opportunity to endorse both policies.

    Meeting materials are available here.

  • Drop-In Sports at MICEC!

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    Drop-in pickleball, volleyball, badminton and open gym have resumed at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center! Click here for a full schedule of activities.

  • Mostly Music in the Park is back!

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    “The Rock” is ready to ROCK! The return of Mostly Music in the Park was prioritized by the Mercer Island City Council, and coordinated by the Recreation Division and Mercer Island Arts Council.

    Grab a to-go order from your favorite Island restaurant, dust off the dancing shoes, and come hang out with your neighbors as we celebrate the return of FUN and community events!

    This free concert series is at Mercerdale Park. We'll see you there!


    August 19 The Olson Bros Band (Country/Rock) *Opener: Staten Medsker

    August 26 Dynamite Supreme (Classic Rock) *Opener: Abby London

    September 2 LeRoy Bell & His Only Friends (Rock/Soul) *Opener: Matt Lome

  • Summer in Full Swing at the MICEC

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    The MICEC is hosting summer camps throughout the summer- it's great to have kids back in the building! From LEGO engineering, Pedalheads cycling, and trips down to play in Luther Burbank Park with Camp Mercer, over 1000 campers are spending their summer days with us.

    Next up for the Center- drop-in sports begin in August!

  • Recreation Update - Summertime!

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    School's out and summer has arrived!

    Wondering what we're up to, and what's in the works? We've been working hard to provide more opportunities for fun and engagement while the world changes around us. We are excited to share our progress and what comes next, including summer camps, drop-in sports, and music at Mercerdale Park later on this summer. Click here to see the list!

    The Mercer Island Community & Event Center is currently open to registered program attendees - summer campers only, for the time being. Toward the end of July, we anticipate offering rentals and drop-in sports in the gym as reopening guidelines and staff capacity allow.

    Stay tuned for updates and more details as we progress in our Reset and recovery City-wide!

  • Recreation Reset Continues

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    On April 20, City Council approved a plan to begin rebuilding some of the programming delivered by the Parks and Recreation Department, which was severely downsized due to the financial impacts of the pandemic and related building closures.

    The Council appropriated the remaining $328,000 of funding that had been set aside for preliminary Parks, Recreation, and Arts Council recovery efforts, with a goal of resuming some programs by this summer.

    Staff are focused on remaining nimble in order to respond quickly to changes in Department of Health pandemic guidance, and King County’s COVID Recovery Phase. Evaluation of immediate community needs is underway and the City is eager to develop services and reengage with the community. The funding will also support and expand those services and programs that have already resumed such as field rentals, the P-patch, and summer camps.

    Click here to view the draft Strategy for the MICEC & Recreation Programs and Services to learn much more about the work the Parks & Recreation Commission has been engaged in over several months. This plan will help guide the delivery of future programs and services in a thoughtful, sustainable way beyond the impacts of the pandemic. We look forward to sharing the final plan and more about the rollout of services throughout the summer and fall.

  • Key Policy Questions Posed by this Project

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    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?
Page last updated: 10 May 2022, 12:14 PM