COLUMBIA — After having its funding cut last year, the Adapted Community Recreation Program at Paquin Tower could have its funding restored.
Boone County Family Resources and the Department of Parks and Recreation have proposed a funding agreement, in which Family Resources would provide the program at Paquin Tower with $16,000, and the city will maintain its current funding of $72,000.
Mike Hood, Parks and Recreation director, said city staff is reviewing the agreement as part of the 2010 budget process.
“In essence, BCFR is looking to restore/replace the funds that were cut from the program’s budget during the FY09 budget approval process,” Hood said in a report about the proposed agreement.
Participants in the program have noticed a change since funds were cut last year. Paquin resident David Dollens, said he noticed when the activities became more limited, and there were fewer supplies and limited staff.
Staff recently conducted a survey, program supervisor Karen Ramey said, and there were suggestions for more activities after 3:30 p.m. to accommodate participants who work during the day. But they cannot currently provide all the activities suggested, because of lack of funding, she said.
“With the funding we have, we’re doing what we can,” Ramey said.
Les Wagner, executive director of Family Resources, said that if the agreement passes, it will evaluate the activities and participation at the end of the year with Parks and Recreation. He also said he’s open to a providing funding for a second year.
Wagner said “it made sense” to offer the funding after it was reduced last fall.
A few changes at Paquin Tower have already been made to improve the program. Parks and Recreation staff recently changed the name from the “Paquin Tower Recreation Program” in order to let people in the community know that it is open to everyone, not just Paquin Tower residents.
Hood said they had already been considering the name change before the proposed agreement. The program has always been available to anybody in the community.
“We’ve been working on it anyway to make sure people know what we have to offer,” Ramey said. “We have had calls from other groups, wanting to know more about the program.”
Don Burkett, a program participant and resident of Paquin Tower, said he would like to see more people who live in the building participate.
“There are a lot of people who live here who don’t come,” he said. “You can’t think for people. You can only think of ideas to get them interested.”
Ramey and Wagner both emphasized that coordination and communication is important for the success for this program.
“It’s just the beginning,” Ramey said. “It’s a work in progress. It always takes time to change things, and I think we’re working toward it."