Parks & Recreation Summary

State of Parks & Recreation

In 2017, the Parks and Recreation Department was 85% staffed for the majority of the year, due in part to transitioning positions as well as military obligations. In August, the department underwent a significant transition as longtime Office Administrator, Araly Bowen, moved with her family to Colorado, and then Administrative Assistant, Allison Jones, was promoted to the position of Office Administrator, after careful consideration of a number of applicants. The position of Administrative Assistant for the Department was filled in September, and overall, the transition has been a smooth one. The Department hopes to reach 100% staffing by the end of February 2018.

Fitness Center Membership

The Jess Odom Community Center has consistently remained a fitness destination for local residents despite other available options. Membership sales remained relatively steady in 2017. We noted less than a 4% decline in overall membership sales figures as compared to 2016. The variety of fitness classes offered at the center remained a popular option, but by far the most popular of them remain the seasonal water aerobics classes. The number of fitness class participants more than doubled during that three-month period, as our Aquatic Center remains the only local facility offering that low-impact fitness option.

In 2018, the Parks and Recreation Department will strive to continue improving upon the amenities and facilities that we currently manage, as well as looking for other projects and programs to offer the citizens of Maumelle in the future.

Events & Programs

Every year the Parks and Recreation Department strives to better the multitude of facilities managed, as well as the services offered to the citizens of Maumelle, while also finding ways in which the Department can contribute to the overall sense of community for the citizens we serve. The year 2017 began with hosting two very successful annual events - The Daddy Daughter Dance and the 3rd annual Mother Son Date Knight Dance. The Department’s partnership with the Maumelle Youth Council always yields a fun and successful Easter Egg Hunt at our Rolling Oaks Sports Complex. In 2017, we continued to present Movies in the Gym, a Fishing Derby at Lake Valencia, Maumelle’s annual 4th Fest at Lake Willastein, and our most successful Haunted House and Carnival to date. Ticket sales and proceeds from the two-night event, totaling $4,617.50, was applied towards travel expenses associated with the Youth Council’s annual attendance at the National League of Cities/Congressional City Conference in March 2018. In December 2017, the Department was happy to assist the Maumelle Youth Council with improvements at the Pat Dodson Dog Park, which included the addition and installation of play structures for the dogs, as well as planting several trees to provide shade for pets and their owners.

The Department also assisted several local civic and charitable organizations with their own events by providing the facilities and equipment, including tables, chairs, and tents, to host their fundraisers, meetings, and fairs. We hosted several events in 2017 including the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce’s Health Fair and Business Expo, the Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast, and Counting on Each Other Inc.’s “Find a Treasure Garage Sale,” all within the Jess Odom Community Center. At Lake Willastein, we helped to ensure that things went smoothly for the annual Dragon Boat Races, which saw its greatest participation numbers to date. Also at Lake Willastein were the Polar Plunge, Gigi’s Walk (Formerly Buddy Walk), the Pontiac Car Show, Remote Control Airplane Demonstration, as well as the City’s annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day Ceremonies. The Maumelle Friends of the Animals annual Puppy Pool “Pawty” was another great success, which we were happy to host in 2017. With 230 dogs splashing around and the event raising $2600 for the cause, it was a fun way to close the swimming season at the Dowell Naylor Aquatic Center.

Facility Repairs & Improvements

With the fall comes the opportunity for the Department to focus on improvements. After the close of the Aquatic Center in September, the pool was completely repainted. All three paint colors received a fresh look, and the pool is ready for the 2018 season. The Parks and Recreation Department’s other facilities benefitted from updates and improvements in 2017 as well, including a new metal building, which was added for additional equipment storage at the Diamond Center. At the girls’ softball complex, we added a new field for six years old and under players, made significant improvements to the drainage system, cleared the area surrounding the complex of underbrush, and added an additional fenced storage area. The Rolling Oaks Sports Complex will benefit from the new plumbing that was reconfigured to the concession building, as well as upgrades and improvements made to the irrigation and drainage systems. Additionally at Rolling Oaks, we did extensive concrete work, pouring over 75 yards of surface for the concrete patio. At the end of the year, we began completely repainting the interior of the home at Park on the River and completed that update in January 2018. We also broke ground on the City’s new 30’x40’ covered pavilion at Lake Willastein. 

Construction and installation of picnic tables were completed in January 2018. The pavilion is a welcome addition to the park and will be available for rental reservations in the spring. We anticipate it will be a popular location for gatherings and social events for our community.

Future Improvements

In 2018, the Parks and Recreation Department will strive to continue improving upon the amenities and facilities that we currently manage, as well as looking for other projects and programs to offer the citizens of Maumelle in the future.