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Bend Parks and Rec tallies winter's impact

Snow brought removal costs, canceled programs

Bend Park and Recreation discusses...

BEND, Ore. - The Bend Park and Recreation Board discussed the rough winter's effects on park district facilities and programs early Tuesday evening.

The recreation director said while this winter did have heavy effects on the park district, he thought the department handled the challenges as best it could. 

Among the facilities the heavy snow closed at times were the Juniper Swim and Fitness Center, The Pavilion, The Bend Senior Center and after-school programs. That led to staff losing work time, as well as the loss of participants and revenues. 

"The primary impacts have basically come from program cancelations resulting from the weather, people having challenges getting to programs, and facilities being closed," said Recreation Director Matt Mercer. "These are the same sort of issues that have faced people in going to the grocery store and also affect people going to recreation facilities and participating in programs."

The estimated recreation revenue loss totals about $125,000. Most came from program refunds and the school year extending into the beginning of summer.

On top of that, snow removal costs ranged from $112,000 of in-house labor, around $12,400 in equipment payments, and $5,300 for contractors.

Officials said this is the first time the park district has experienced a system-wide impact on this level and right now, it's focusing on what that means for the future. Some of the district's considerations include future equipment and contracting needs and establishing an inclement weather policy. 

"Like everybody, our resources were very tapped," Mercer said. "Fortunately, we were able to do a lot of snow removal with our in-house staff, but that's all the work our crews were able to do for several weeks."

Mercer said snow removal did have a big financial impact, but more than that the department was unable to focus on the work that's usually done at this time of year. Along with lost revenue, the park district issued nearly $55,000 in credits and refunds for canceled programs. Some staffing costs were saved due to cancelations, but not enough to offset the lost revenue. 


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