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New Parks and Recreation leader to discuss city's programs

June 12, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Ernie Shaw, a longtime supervisor in the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, was named its interim director last March. He will chat about his future plans for the department, among other topics.

Moderator:

Welcome. This is Dennis Anderson, managing editor of the Lawrence Journal-World. Our guest today is Ernie Shaw, interim director of the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department. Good afternoon Ernie.

Ernie Shaw:

Good afternoon and thank you for inviting me to chat with your readers.

Moderator:

You have been in your position since mid March. How is the job going?

Moderator:

It's going fine. Obviously it's very busy at this time of year. We have a lot of events and programs going on. As interim director, I'm still doing my work as superintendent of recreation operations. It's keeping me busy.

Moderator:

What is new this summer?

Ernie Shaw:

One thing that happened this summer is the summer film noir movie series at 9th and New Hampshire. Downtown Lawrence Inc. is sponsoring it. We are also helping out with getting the band before the movie and advertising the events. This will take the place of our movies in the park that we used to have. The movies will be shown on the north wall of the parking garage. Upcoming dates include: "Double Indemnity" on July 5, "The Big Clock" on Aug. 2 and "Criss Cross" on Sept. 6.

Ernie Shaw:

One other thing is the life-long recreation program geared toward those 50 and older. People want to stay active and live longer so we are developing more programs that will interest people. We have walking, wood shop, golf instruction, yoga, strength training, ect. We're also planning some day trips. We're trying to make that program much larger than we've had in the past. Call any park and rec office for more information or go online at www.lprd.org.>

Ernie Shaw:

Also, June 15 we're having our Bill Self youth scholarship golf tournament. Proceeds go to help youth who can't afford to pay for our programs to enroll.

bucks1:

What plans does LPRD have for the increased need of facility space, both indoor and outdoor?

Ernie Shaw:

One of the things we have been involved with is the group PLAY, which just did a community survey of recreation needs. That was a joint effort between the city, county, school district and chamber for funds to run the study. Those results have been documented with a couple of public meetings and discussions among administrators. Some of the needs found were large indoor facilties such as gymnasiums and baseball, football, softball and soccer facilities. Also under consideration is renovation of exitings facilities.
Treanor and Associates, the architectural firm, has put some numbers to this. Where we are at right now is the commissions of both the city, county and school board are creating a small committee to see where we are going next. Support for the concept for more and better facilities was determined to be needed. Now we have to determine how we are going to pay for them when you also look at the wants and needs of the entire community.

Moderator:

What do you think the community needs in terms of new or renovated recreation facilities?

Ernie Shaw:

As far as parks and recreational facilities, the greatest need is for gymnasiums. In the past few years, the community has lost six gymnasiums. Four were at Sport to Sport, which are now tennis courts. And two gymnasiums at Robinson at Kansas University can no longer be used because of the college's needs. In order to salvage our gymnastics program at Robinson, we needed to move that to the East Lawrence Recreation Center. That affected other gym use. When Sport to Sport closed, we started getting calls from organizations that used to use that. We try to use as many facilities as possible at schools. More and more elite organizations are going out of town to compete because of our limited facilities. PLAY has talked about a mulitpurpose indoor facility. That would be a tremendous benefit to the city. Outdoors, we have no facilities for fastpitch softball. Later in July, Lawrence is hosting 140 fastpitch softball teams for a tournament. We are using as many of our fields as possible and installing temporary fences to accommodate the tournament. We also need practice facilities for a number of sports.

justthefacts:

Would there be any interest or ability to create a "Shakespeare in the Park" type of summer program (or other theater outside)? "All" it would take would be enough volunteers with theater skills/background(s) and the (free) use of park locations to perform (for free) for the public. Communities that have such programs have found them to be very popular.

Ernie Shaw:

We're always open to new ideas. That's how a number of our new programs have started. Jo Ellis is our program director. Her offices are at South Park Center.

Moderator:

We are out of time. I want to thank the readers for the questions and Ernie Shaw for his time.

Comments

salad 6 years, 10 months ago

The fact that this moron gets promoted to director of P&R proves how inept city leadership is. Ernie is the guy I think of when someone mentions bosses from hell, and yet another proof of the Dilbert principle.

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macon47 6 years, 10 months ago

if the publc will not support a fee based private business for sports, why would we want to use the rest of the taxpayers money to provide it at no charge??

am i missing something

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