Reorganization of Town’s Tourism and Recreation Dept. continues to move forward
Recreation in Mammoth Lakes took one step forward at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday night, and it looks as though the Tourism and Recreation Department could well end up being broken into three pieces going forward into the 2010-11 fiscal year.
Tourism and Recreation Director Danna Stroud presented an organizational chart to the Council at their Jan. 20 meeting. The chart was the creation of the Mammoth Region Recreation Council (MRRC), formed last fall to look at the recreational component of T&R which would be impacted by the proposed formation of a DMO (Destination Marketing Organization).
Members of the MRRC, which had included representatives from the Forest Service, the Town, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Mono County, MLTPA, and Friends of the Inyo had started out looking at recreation from a regional perspective. However, by the end of their approximately five meetings, the group realized that Mammoth Lakes recreation and region-wide recreation on public lands would need to be split into two pieces, explained Stroud. The piece that she brought before Council members was the Mammoth-specific piece. The other piece would most likely be some type of Inyo National Forest Association that the Forest Service would have to take the lead in developing.
The idea behind the Mammoth specific piece would be to add an additional organization, currently dubbed Mammoth Lakes Recreation, or MLR, to the Town’s recreation arsenal, Stroud said. Currently, the recreation half of Town’s Tourism and Recreation Department has its hands full just taking care of the core services that residents and visitors expect a town to provide. Services such as keeping the ice rink running and taking care of the swimming pool in the summer are full-time jobs. MLR would be an extension that could be added in order to give the Town an extra set of eyes and ears that would be responsible for dealing with issues, ideas and projects that cross over into lands outside of the Town’s boundaries, but which the Town still has an interest in. For example, Stroud said, MLR could be the project manager responsible for working with outside entities such as the Forest Service on the Lakes Basin Special Study grant. Funding for the MLR could come from Measure R, business sponsorships, and grants, she added.
One member of the public, Sandy Hogan, said she thought that the plan that had emerged from the MRRC, while full of good ideas, was not focused enough on the core services.
“Don’t try to jam both these things into the 2010/11 fiscal year budget,” Hogan suggested. “Put a subcommittee together just to focus on the core services and bring three budget options back to Council. I call this taking care of business and dealing with what we have first before adding something else.”
MLTPA Exec. Director John Wentworth, agreed that a subcommittee needed to be put together, but said that such a committee should address both core services and the potential of MLR at the same time. A gap analysis needs to be done to see what the Town’s Recreation Department is already covering and what is falling through the cracks that MLR could pick up, Stroud added.
Wentworth’s interest in the process comes from the potential of MLTPA morphing into MLR. With its contract for services already in place with the Town through Measure R funds, it would just be a matter of taking a look at what MLTPA is currently doing for the Town and what MLR would need to do and reconciling the differences. According to Stroud, MLTPA as MLR would function in a similar fashion to the way Mammoth Lakes Housing functions as an arm of the Town through a contract for services.
And it would save two letters, joked Councilmember Wendy Sugimura.
Council agreed in theory to the separation of core services and MLR, but sent MRRC out to further analyze what the Town’s Recreation Department would be responsible for, and what would fall into the realm of MLR.
On a parallel track, Teri Stehlik, a member of the DMO Board, which has been going through a similar development process for the Tourism side of the Tourism and Recreation Department, explained to the Council that their process is also nearing a conclusion. Both Stroud and Stehlik agreed that the DMO and the MRRC should be ready to report out on their individual developments by the end of February. At that time, the two groups would then need to reconcile with one another in order to come up with an overall plan for the reconstruction of Tourism and Recreation.
Then, Stroud explained, the entire reconstruction plan will be put into the budget planning cycle to determine the final outcome.