The Puyallup parks department has finally ended budget talks as heat and sunshine have brought residents outdoors earlier than normal.
The Parks, Recreation & Senior Advisory Board unanimously voted to approve recommendations on budget reductions at the end of April, saving two popular programs after a long — and sometimes contentious — cutback process.
Parks administrator Sarah Harris said the Pioneer Park wading pool and the popular summer concert series will continue, despite about $147,000 in cuts to the parks budget.
Weekend hours at the recreation center, which were originally targeted for cutbacks in early proposals, won’t be reduced after staff positions were adjusted.
The pool and the concerts also were part of initial cuts proposals, but Harris said restructuring programs and reducing supply costs allowed the department to salvage both for at least another year.
“We tried to make sure the programs that offered a value to the community were kept intact,” Harris said Thursday.
Initial proposed cuts approved in the final recommendations include a preschool program assistant position, scorekeepers and supervisors for adult sports, two recreation staff positions and elimination of the teen program The Attic.
Additionally, Puyallup will end a summer track partnership with Pierce County, a program the county will continue to sponsor.
The wading pool will continue for at least a year, but the parks department is exploring a splash pad in its place down the road.
Harris said splash pads are safer, require fewer staff to maintain and allow flexible use for longer periods of time throughout the year.
At the City Council meeting Tuesday, Councilman John Hopkins said he is pleased with the progress that was made to reduce costs while maintaining valuable programs.
“We’re doing more with less,” he said. “This is a platform for the future.”
Kari Plog: 253-597-8682