In an effort to save money and make better use of space, the parks and recreation department recently moved into City Hall.
To get familiar with the staff, upcoming programs and new home, the city has an open house scheduled Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.
"This relocation makes sense, in that the public will be served in a facility that is centrally located with ease of access," said Parks and Rec Director Linda Nahrstedt. "My hope is that, if our customers haven’t done so already, they will stop by the open house to familiarize themselves with our new space."
During the open house, light refreshments will be available and attendees may sign up for parks and recreation classes, take a tour of the new parks and rec front offices where the public comes to register and sign up for a chance to win free camping and other giveaways.
The parks department was located on Stow Road near Silver Springs Park. The department moved Sept. 4. The city recently struck a deal with Stow company Enviroscience — the company that will now lease the former parks building. The mayor expects that a private company in the former public building will draw in tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes.
The move was also necessary because the parks department has been downsized during the last three years and the mayor said it didn't make sense to have a smaller staff alone in such a large building.
The city no longer has:
- 3 parks and maintenance positions
- 1 ½ clerical positions
- 1 naturalist position
- Nahrstedt is also performing two full-time jobs: parks director and community information coordinator. (Nick Wren was the former parks director before he was promoted to assistant service director.)
"It is imperative that the city look now and into the future and find ways to increase our efficiency, reduce costs and find ways to collaborate across departments to best serve our customers, the public, in an era of permanently reduced staffing levels," said Drew.
Nahrstedt said she and her staff are already comfortable in their new home.
"The new space is wonderful! We have other department’s customer service staff that can now assist my staff in covering our front office – answering phone calls and greeting and assisting our customers," she said. "Thus they (my staff) are able to go to meetings in and out of the building, take days off, and call off if they are sick. We just haven’t had that kind of flexibility this past year with our reduced staff."
Eventually, other departments’ employees will be cross-trained in the recreation department's registration software so that they can complete transactions with customers. The parks staff will also be trained to help assist in other departments as well.
Despite the move, the phone number is still the same: 330-689-5100.
For more information, follow the parks and rec Facebook page.