Orchard Park’s Recreation Department generated more money last year than it cost to run the department, making 2013 a record year for revenue as well as participation, its director said.
“It simply is based on the support from the community,” Recreation Director Ed Leak told the Town Board Wednesday evening.
Leak also filled board members in on a plan to build a new picnic pavilion with a rest room and storage area near the recreation office at Yates Park/Green Lake.
The pavilion would replace Shelter No. 5, where the town has been renting out a large tent for several years, Leak said during the board’s work session. He said those calling to rent the new pavilion have been excited about it, and willing to pay $200 a day to rent it.
But the Town Board has not yet approved the construction of the new pavilion. Leak said it is estimated to cost $135,000 to build. Funds would be taken from the recreation fund that developers pay into when they build new subdivisions, and not from the annual budget supported by taxpayers. The fund has about $370,000 in it, but some of that money is earmarked for improvements at another town facility, officials said.
“Why are we renting out something we don’t have yet?” Board Member Eugene Majchrzak asked.
He said last year’s Town Board talked about something that would cost $60,000, not more than $100,000.
Leak said discussion last year started with buying a tent to save on the cost of renting it, then talk moved to what would be needed in that area. He said the new pavilion would be used for rentals, for summer programming, which attracts 300 or more children on some weeks, and for special events, such as Art Rocks the Park and the Halloween party.
“That facility will be a hub of activities,” he said.
Leak said the pavilion would hold 120 people, and the town would have to buy 120 chairs and 10 to 15 tables to use there. He also said he hoped the pavilion could be completed by May 1.
“Over the last 11 years, I believe the town has acted in a manner to really build up Yates Park/Green Lake as the jewel of the community,” he said.
Town Board members said they would decide soon whether to go ahead with construction of the pavilion.
Leak said participation at last year’s paid programs, 10 special events and beach attendance was 33,589, up from 29,424 the previous year.
The department also increased its gross receipts, including paid programming and corporate sponsorships, to $539,519.
That is 6 percent over its budget, and represents the most successful year in the department’s history, he said.
The department recently updated its website, and is starting an aggressive social media campaign, he said.
“We’re already thinking summer,” he said.