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County to Close Campgrounds to Balance Its Budget

September 29, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Citing a more than $100,000 deficit, Jefferson County (Wash.) Parks Director Matt Tyler outlined a proposal to close four park facilities, cut almost three part-time staff positions and become heavily dependent on volunteers to maintain most other county parks.

The move leaves just one paid staffer for parks maintenance countywide in this county located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

“We are coping and surviving now,” Tyler told the county commissioners Monday (Sept. 28), ¬†announcing a plan to greatly expand the system’s volunteer program to maintain most of the county’s 19 parks.

The county park system budgeted $539,546 in 2009 expenditures but has only slightly more than $438,000 for 2010.

The proposal closes the “low-performing” Chimacum Campground and Day Use Park adjacent to the Tri-Area Community Center in Chimacum.

It would also close the Lake Leland Campground north of Quilcene, but leave the day use park open.

Hicks/Shine Park and the Quilcene Campground will be closed altogether.

The county parks agency also proposes raising fees for parks and recreation programs, cutting high-subsidy programs, building new high revenue programs and partnering with day-care services.

The intent is to recover 50% of county parks revenues instead of 33% as is now the case, Tyler said.

Building a volunteer work force is wanted at all parks, except those with strong existing volunteer groups, Tyler said.

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