Highlights of a recently completed strategic plan for Solon’s Parks and Recreation Department were presented to City Council Monday.

The recreation department, along with the Impact Group, a marketing communications firm in Hudson hired by the city, began the process earlier this year. The goal of the initiative was to create opportunities and engagement that would allow the recreation department to remain proactive in its planning for the future, Solon Community Center Manger Rich Parker said to city officials.

As part of the strategic planning process, he explained that the Parks and Recreation Department collected feedback from the community. Close to 1,000 data points were collected by different means, he said, including an online survey, eight focus groups and interviews with other city stakeholders.

Five goals were established as part of the strategic plan, Mr. Parker said. Those include communication, recruiting, retaining and training high-quality personnel, facilities, finance and accountability, and education, programming and events.

“By establishing this strategic plan, we have a clear path to completing our goals and providing innovative, fun and engaging programs to the community,” Mr. Parker said. “This is a very exciting time for all of us, and we know that the residents will benefit from the results of this initiative.”

Plans are to have this initiative wrapped up in 2022, he said. “This is a living and breathing document that we will adjust as necessary.”

In terms of overall positive feedback, the survey showed that the community noted a wide variety of programming options, proactive response to community wishes and concerns, safe facilities and well-trained coaches, among others.

Areas of negative feedback centered on aging facilities that do not meet current needs and expectations in terms of space, customer service inefficiencies, cleanliness of restrooms and locker rooms and the need for increased adult and special needs programming options, among others.

“Our mission is to provide for the leisure needs of all the citizens of Solon and enhance the quality of life for our residents by offering active and passive recreation programs in a clean, safe and appealing environment and this strategic plan will help us accomplish those goals,” Donald W. Holub, director of recreation, said. “We are so thankful for the community’s input during this planning process and are excited to develop new programs and systems that will benefit our residents.”

Councilwoman Nancy E. Meany noted that the community center is 15 years old, thus making the plan development timely.

“This was a good time to delve into this,” Mrs. Meany said. “It’s good to step back and evaluate.

“I think people of the rec department will embrace this,” she added. “I have full confidence you will implement the suggestions that are in here.”

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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