In a move to improve efficiency, the Metro Parks and Recreation Department will unveil on Jan. 18 a new system for the public to reserve picnic facilities and ball fields.
Tommy Lynch, parks department interim director, said a new service center will accommodate those who want to reserve a picnic area, baseball field or softball field. The center, which will also handle model airplane permits, will be located in the former recreation division building at the department’s west side headquarters at Oman Street and Park Plaza.
Previously, one person only handled picnic reservations, Lynch said. As of Jan. 18, three parks employees will oversee all reservations and permits, while still handling their other duties.
“This is about addressing an issue we had had for several years about complaints for our picnic reservations,” Lynch said. “We sort of came to the conclusion that if nothing else, we needed to do something different. It cried for a change.”
Lynch said the new system should be much more “customer-service oriented” than the previous arrangement.
From July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, the department collected about $131,000 for the reservation of both picnic areas and ballparks. That dollar figure is part of an overall user-fee revenue average of about $8 million each year, Lynch said. Metro Parks Department golf courses and Wave Country generate significant percentages of that revenue total, he added.
Metro parks oversees about 200 baseball and softball fields, and about 60 picnic areas.