Mayor Diane Delaware said that her desire to transform Parks and Recreation into a city department has nothing to do with trying to pick a fight with the county – it’s all about improving the program.
“I want better parks and programs,” Delaware said. “Let’s make it a city department and get it done.”
Delaware said that establishing Parks and Recreation as a city department would give the Mayor and Board of Aldermen direct oversight over the program.
She said the current system where Parks and Recreation has a board made up of individuals appointed by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen and the Yazoo County Board of Supervisors isn’t working.
Delaware said the results speak for themselves.
“All they really do right now is mow the grass and line the fields,” she said.
Delaware said she is confident that the city could raise the money to offset the contributions made by the county. She said that making the program a city department would also open the door for the city to apply for grants.
“I would like to see new programs,” Delaware said. “There are so many possibilities. We could have things like art contests and games for children. We could have programs for all ages. People in this community need things to do.”
In response to criticism about charging county residents fees to use the local parks, Delaware said that perhaps the county could provide vouchers for county residents who wish to participate. She said the county could use the funds the county would no longer be contributing to Parks & Recreation if it became a city operated department.
During the last Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting, Ward 2 Alderman Dr. Jack Varner agreed with Delaware that the city needs to establish its own program. Varner said the parks were better off when the city operated the program.