After two extended meetings, the Parks, Tree and Recreation Board has compiled its list of recommendations for projects or groups to receive annual grant funding from the Albany County Recreation Board. Although 12 of the 27 presentations were for city projects, the board chose to prioritize more of the private, nonprofit groups and projects.
“I think the Parks, Tree and Recreation Advisory Board is very cognizant of recreational needs across the entire community, not just the city’s needs,” said Todd Feezer, assistant city manager. “They do a good job of trying to make sure their recommendation touches as many as they can.”
Just four of the city’s 12 proposals made it to the top 10 spots on the list, including cost recovery for the Laramie Community Recreation Center, a recreation division scholarship, a playground at LaPrele Park and updated cardio and fitness equipment for the Recreation Center.
In contrast, six city projects — ranging from a bouldering wall at the Recreation Center to protective padding for speed skating at the Ice and Events Center — are ranked in the lower 10 spots and aren’t as likely to get the requested funding.
“It’s intended to be fair process,” Feezer said. “There’s projects that I really like that I would’ve loved to see higher, but the fact that they’re not there just means we work towards a different avenue to try to get them funded. There’s never a hard feeling about this because this money is put to such good use in this community.”
The board recommended many children’s recreation groups to receive the fully-requested funding, including Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters, Laramie Girls Softball and American Legion Baseball. Other groups ranked highly on the board’s list include the Pilot Hill Project, Laramie BikeNet, Laramie Soccer Club and the Laramie Amateur Hockey Club.
Feezer said it’s unclear how much money the Albany County Recreation Board will have to give out to the groups and where the “cut off” for funding will be. He added the city’s list might be impacted by proposals from other groups vying for the money, since the county, Rock River and the Albany County School District No. 1 all have projects of their own.
“We don’t actually know at what level we’ll get funded,” Feezer said. “We know what historically we’ve been funded – but I can’t guarantee that even that historic [funding] is going to be accurate.”
Members of the board had a chance to adjust the amounts requested by the candidates before ranking the projects during Tuesday’s meeting. Dave Hammond, one of the board members, requested the budgets for two youth basketball groups — Laramie Fire Youth Basketball and Team 7220 Travel Basketball — be reduced to $5,000 from over $12,000 and $13,000, respectively. Both groups remained highly ranked on the list despite the reduction in funds, which reflect what each group was awarded in the previous year.
Additionally, board member Marius Favret requested a $1,500 reduction in the budget of a city project to install designated areas for slackline and hammocks in Undine Park, saying he didn’t want to fund spots for hammocks. The proposal is lower on the rankings list.
Looking forward, the Laramie City Council will review the list and make any changes deemed necessary. Feezer said he hopes to have the recommendations before Council during one of its meetings in early February.
“They are advising the Council that this is what the process developed, and usually the Council takes their advice and doesn’t make a lot of changes to it,” Feezer said. “But there’s absolutely no guarantee that Council won’t change it.”
The Parks, Trees and Recreation Advisory Board is a voluntary city board consisting of up to nine members appointed by the City Council. The board advises the city on rules, regulations, promotion and development of the city’s parks and open spaces.