Looking ahead at the CW Joint Recreation District’s future

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer
Canal Winchester Finance Director Amanda Jackson presented a draft agreement with the city’s Joint Recreation District that could set the groundwork for the long-term survivability of the organization.

“We’ve been meeting about what a future plan would look like,” Jackson said, before noting there is a need for a recreation director. “We want to help fund that position, but wanted feedback from you.”

Canal Winchester City Councilman Mike Coolman agreed on the need for a director, calling the position “vital.”

“It’s a very important function for a municipality to have a youth program,”said Coolman. “I don’t want to see something happen where we put something in motion and then three years down the road it falls apart.”

Councilwoman Jill Amos said the JRD currently operates under a 100 percent registration-funded operation and took a big hit last year due to the lack of registrations.

“It’s getting someone in place to make this a better production for this community,” said Amos. “We have big goals. It is a joint effort between all of us (city, school district and JRD) to make sure we’re going in the right direction.”

Councilman Bob Clark felt at some point in the process the public has to buy into the need for the recreation district.

“You are going to have to run a levy,” said Clark. “There are opportunities here. I don’t know of other cities who run their recreation department on donations.”

When council deliberated on whether to set a specific amount for a director’s salary or leave the amount open for budgeting, there was a prevailing feeling to leave the funding open to allow for more flexibility.

“As the organization grows, you have no idea what it takes from year-to-year. It could change overnight,” said Coolman.

Other news
Jackson asked council to consider an ordinance amending 2021 city appropriations to accept $930,000 in American Rescue Plan funding that can be used to help industries—such as tourism—impacted by the pandemic.

“We have a number of different projects for this funding,” said Jackson.

ARP Funds must be dedicated to specific uses by Dec. 31, 2024. The encumbered funds must be paid out, purchases received, and projects completed by Dec. 31, 2026. Any money that is left over after the deadlines must be returned to the US Treasury.

“Some businesses were affected more locally and we feel for all of them,” said Coolman.

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