WHAT IT FUNDS: Summer camp programs, the Paper District Marina, Mills Creek Golf Course, the Shelby Street Public Boat Launch and the Sandusky Bay Pavilion.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Public recreation is a key component to promote quality of life for area residents.
FUNDING WOES: Recreation received about a $38,000 cut in 2014 versus what was spent in 2013, forcing officials to cancel an outdoor concert series and popular fall-themed children’s festival among other cuts.
The Register takes an in-depth look at Sandusky’s $16.3 million operating budget this week and tells readers where the money’s spent:
•SUNDAY: Dealing with a downsized fire department
•MONDAY: Cemetery services
•Canceling the Boo at the Bay Pumpkin Festival, a popular fall-themed children’s festival occurring in October just before Halloween.
•Eliminating the Beats by the Bay summer concert series at the Paper District Marina.
•Cutting down on staff at the Shelby Street Public Boat Launch. City officials are considering shutting it down for the entire year.
“The cuts in recreation will affect the department as a whole,” Sandusky recreation division supervisor Victoria Kurt said.
It hasn’t helped that Sandusky’s flagship recreational venue, the Paper District Marina, has collectively lost $103,000 since debuting in 2011, zapping funds from an already cash-strapped budget. Kurt said she plans on strategizing to find additional income for recreational services. Among them: creating more seasonal, or longterm, dockage at the marina, originally intended for transient, or short-term, docking.
“We will continue to promote our events, activities, facilities and camps to the best of our abilities while staying within our budget,” Kurt said.
Many people are disappointed by the cuts, including Annette Wells, the Maritime Museum of Sandusky’s director. The museum partnered with the city’s recreation department for many activities, including the Boo at the Bay Pumpkin Festival.
“The Maritime Museum is hoping that this is just a temporary thing because I think it’s important for the city to co-sponsor local events like this for the community,” Wells said. “Events and services like the ones offered at Sandusky’s parks give local families the opportunity to see what their hometown has to offer”
Despite city official canceling this year’s Boo at the Bay Pumpkin Festival, Wells said the museum will still offer a full slate of fall activities during a weekend in mid-to-late October.