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A Strong and Vibrant City Tomorrow's Vision and Beyond

  1. Education - "Professionalism of the Parks and Recreation Profession"
    Columbus Parks and Recreation must continue to ensure the professionalism and credentialing process of its staff. This may be achieved by:
    1. Training staff in preparation for the next level of responsibility
    2. Establishing a primary or departmental goal to have all management team members certified as a CPRP, Certified Parks and Recreation Professional, within a specified time frame
    3. To revisit the Department’s commitment to accreditation
  2. Economic Impact
    Columbus Parks and Recreation Department is vital to economic development. Various opportunities present themselves throughout the fiscal year:
    1. Meetings and Conferences
    2. Athletic league play
    3. Athletic Tournaments
    4. Structured Programming
    5. Fine Arts events
    6. Family Entertainment
    7. Concerts
    8. Regional event planning
    9. Attraction of jobs and industry via ‘quality of life’ issues where potential employers lure their blue-chip employees to our community. The employers consider the viability of the communities in which they settle from the perspective of:
      1. the cost of doing business in a community
      2. the educational/skill level of the residents of the community
      3. the quality of life as determined by the local government’s provision of essential and recreational services to the community
    10. Continue to support the efforts of the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau and the tourism industry through:
      1. Athletic events
      2. Special events
      3. Special programs
      4. Quality of life issues
  3. Environment
    We must be the source of concern and preservation efforts for our natural resources – specifically, water, air, green spaces, and recreation and leisure resources.
  4. Partnership / Collaboration – “This is Now”
    Periodically the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department completes a project that affects the community as a whole. We must continue to develop key partnerships throughout our community. Columbus Parks and Recreation Professionals have proven themselves as masters in this area. Some of our more obvious partnerships include but are not limited to the following:
    1. Muscogee County School District
    2. Georgia Recreation and Parks Association
    3. National Recreation and Parks Association
    4. Private / Corporate community
    5. Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau
    6. Columbus State University
    7. Columbus Fire/EMS Department
    8. Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce
    9. Neighborhood focus groups
    10. Sports Associations
    11. Greater Columbus Sports and Events Council
    12. Job Training Partnership Program
    13. Professional Sports Franchises
    14. Other City Departments of Consolidated Government
  5. Leadership
    The objectives of our organization serve three main purposes:
    1. To establish a future state that the organization is trying to realize, and thus, to set down guidelines for the organization to follow;
    2. To legitimatize the existence of the organization; and
    3. To provide a standard for assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.
    To set and achieve our department’s objectives, we must encourage visionary, charismatic leadership through the following strategies:
    1. Provide opportunities for advancement, training, and development for key staff members.
    2. We must continue to profess a regionalistic theme…for together we are stronger than apart.
    3. We must develop a system of readiness and preparation for our young professionals.
    4. We must continue to seek and develop partnerships, which provide us opportunities to lead.
    5. We must continue to take a “team” approach to leadership.
  6. Diversty
    More and more departments within the city are convinced that in today’s global economy, those companies that can turn work force diversity into a competitive advantage are much more likely to succeed. We must continue to be aware and sensitive of the talents and abilities of different genders, races, and cultures.
    1. Columbus Parks and Recreation professionals should take the lead in developing a more diverse and open culture.
    2. We should continue to encourage minority and women’s participation in social and civic organizations.
    3. Our professionals need to continue to work together to achieve a “free” and “racially just” society.
    4. Management needs to remind our supervisors to provide a gender and racially balanced staff that is reflective of the demographics of our community.
    5. Diversity should remain a top priority, not an afterthought.
  7. Arts and Culture
    Music / Art / Drama should continue to be a significant component of our programming efforts.
    1. Columbus Parks and Recreation professionals need to ensure that a continued balanced approach to programming is the standard by which our programs are measured.
    2. We need to continue our sensitivity to diversifying programs and prioritizing citizen “choices”.
    3. will continue to positively influence our youth with quality intervention programs. It is to the Department’s advantage to be an active voice in the early development of our youth.
    4. Elderly – seniors have become the largest segment of our community population. More people over the age 60 are actively participating at our centers. We need to continue to monitor this demographic and to develop our programs to accommodate the population as needs are indicated throughout our community.
    5. The Special Needs population continues to grow as the senior population does. We must continue to target and expand programs for our physically and mentally challenged citizens. Modern technology, professional development, and education continue to be our most effective resources infusing this segment into the mainstream.
  8. Planning
    Our strategic plan must become a continual work in motion, reflecting the changing needs of our community as quickly as these shifts become apparent.
    1. We congratulate our previous and current administrations for their cooperative efforts in bringing a strategic plan to life and implementing this plan across all spectrums of city government.
    2. We will continue to strive to accomplish the goals and objectives collectively set by the professionals and various advisory groups to the organization.
    3. The staff is currently visiting the strategic plan for the department, and we will continue to work to achieve those needs as indicated through our various means of data collection, measurement, and evaluation.
    4. We will continue to plan annual retreats to update and revise the future direction of our department. All employees are encouraged to be active participants in our future direction.
  9. Budget and Financial Plan
    We must continue to adhere to a fiscal policy that balances our annual revenue and expenditures.
    1. The rapid growth and change of this community continue to be the unprecedented public / private partnerships that have been developed in our community. The continuation of these in the future is paramount to our quality of life.
    2. The Recreation Advisory Board continues to provide leadership and vision for our department.
    3. The department must continue to be supportive and creative in maintaining effective utilization of all resources. These resources must be leveraged with outside sources to accomplish a common goal.
    4. We will continue to explore revenue opportunities beneficial to the department and our community.
    5. The Mayor and Council have developed a general policy that stated we must live within the current growth digest of our community.
    6. We must educate the public to the concept of “pay to play” as the tax digest shrinks.
    7. We must be good stewards of the general tax digest and special local option sales tax.
    8. We must justify additional expenditures as necessary to maintain the additional facilities as they become operational.
  10. Citizens
    We continue to acknowledge our staff and the citizens of this community as our most valuable asset.
    1. Citizen services must be a focal point in strategic planning.
    2. New outreach methods and programs must be developed to target the non-traditional citizen, to insure the growth, vitality, and diversity of our community.
    3. We must continue to enhance the communication channels with the staff and citizens of Columbus.
    4. We must continue to be sensitive to the various focus groups and special needs within our community.
    5. We must continue to always place priority on the “Customer Service Skills” of this department.
  11. Elected Officials
    The Mayor and Council have asked all departments to live within the tax digest of the community and challenged all staff to be creative and resourceful in developing the best quality services at the lowest possible cost.

    During the past several years and in the foreseeable future, the Mayor and Council have placed “Quality of Life” issues as a top priority in this community. We must ensure that the leadership of this organization maintains “quality” as one of its guiding principles.

  12. Communication
    The Department will continue to be a leader in implementing the latest technological developments to ensure quality communication and the most productive and efficient workforce. Diverse and open channels of communication must be achieved to maximize the potential of our department and our community.
    1. We must develop the most effective way to communicate within our department and with the citizens of Columbus.
    2. Communication is everyone’s responsibility, and it must reach all aspects of the community and our department.
    3. A flow of information must be provided that allows for the information to be passed from the citizens of Columbus to our department and City Officials.
  13. Capital Projects
    “We need to invest our money in our community in a way that enhances our quality of life”.

    The department was able to benefit from the passing of the 1993 sales tax referendum. A combination of leisure / recreational opportunities was added to an already growing department.

    The addition of four supercenters provided a diverse atmosphere for various activities for our community to enjoy. We added Psalmond Road, Frank Chester, Shirley Winston, and Northside Supercenters to increase our number of venues and to provide recreation services not only for the kids but to seniors as well.

    Also, during the run of this tax campaign, some of our existing venues were either upgraded or renovated to accommodate the changes in our community. Lakebottom Park received a totally new look. We added a 400-meter track, upgraded the tennis courts, and reconstructed the softball and baseball fields. Additional lighting was added surrounding the whole park. The basketball court was moved to another area of the park to provide a safe area away from the small kids.

    With the growing interest in soccer, we developed the Woodruff Farm Soccer Complex where 11 international regulation fields provide a competitive environment. The soccer complex success is the result of a unique partnership involving Muscogee County School District, Columbus Youth Soccer Association, corporate entities, and the Parks and Recreation Department.

    Several projects directly involved from the 1999 Sales Tax Referendum have been completed. The community’s old neighborhood pools have been demolished. The community is now able to enjoy three leisure pools. These pools are located at Psalmond Road, Rigdon Road, and Shirley Winston Parks. Two pools are now complete at Double Churches. One is a wading-type pool for children and a larger pool for lap swimming.

    The city built a natatorium with two pools. A small pool is available for practice and a large Olympic-size swimming pool accommodates up to 1,000 swimmers during a swim meet. At least 900 can be seated to watch the competition. The natatorium is located off Macon Road.

    The City agreed on a land swap with the Muscogee County School District to maximize use of Fox Elementary School and to provide the department with some much-needed office space. The swap was completed, and the old Fox Elementary School is now the home of Community Schools. Programming is expected to blossom here as well. “Meals-on-wheels” was added within the senior section of this venue.

    Recently up-grades have been completed at various buildings. Carver Park Recreation Center has received a new gym floor. Pop Austin Gym received a new gym floor; additional office space was added to house our Therapeutic Division. Haygood Boxing Gym received a new tile floor. The locker room was expanded to make room for showers. A new concession stand was placed within the gym to allow patrons to watch the matches while visiting the concession stand. The weight room received new exercise equipment that is vital in the development of the boxers.

    We understand that with our aging infrastructure, the demand for more capital funds is a must. We continually ask year after year for funds to improve our parks, playgrounds, and facilities.

    We have hopes of a new Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) in the upcoming years and we hope our department will benefit from that SPLOST.

    We have great pride in our employees for continuing year after year to do more with less and to continue to keep our facilities and parks up to the best standard possible. We know that we have the best staff and could not possibly do without them!

The Mission of Columbus Parks and Recreation

The mission of the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department is to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of this community by providing passive and active recreational, educational, and cultural programming services for all age groups. It is our objective to provide parks and recreation facilities that are safe, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing to the entire community. 

The Mission Statement is supported by nine key components: 

  • To provide competitive programming for different athletic disciplines.
  • To provide passive green space consistent with local and national standards.
  • To provide signature events and programming that has regional appeal.
  • To provide a recreational environment that joins health and spirit.
  • To provide programming for special needs and senior adult populations.
  • To provide diverse entertainment opportunities at a reasonable cost.
  • To provide comprehensive maintenance programs in order to provide safe, clean facilities. 
  • To provide the highest level of professionalism and ethics.