City Council to Consider a Split From Valley-Wide Recreation

Valley-Wide Recreation and Parks District manages several parks in Menifee, including Wheatfield...

Valley-Wide Recreation and Parks District manages several parks in Menifee, including Wheatfield Park.
Yet another of the many transitional decisions facing Menifee following incorporation is expected to draw a large crowd to City Hall for Wednesday night's City Council meeting.

On the agenda is a discussion item regarding the management of the city's parks and recreational facilities. A staff report recommends that the council authorize staff members to "implement a city-wide approach to delivering community services, parks and recreation programming for the City of Menifee."

Currently, Menifee has no Parks and Recreation Department. The management of parks in the city is divided between two entities: The City of Menifee, which manages parks west of Interstate 215 through a contract with Riverside County; and the Valley-Wide Recreation and Parks District, which manages parks east of the 215. Valley-Wide is a separate entity that manages many Southwest Riverside facilities not under direct city control.

Valley-Wide has managed the parks and recreational facilities on the east side of Menifee for several years -- long before the city was incorporated in 2008. Headquartered in San Jacinto, Valley-Wide maintains a Menifee office in Wheatfield Park -- a 25-acre complex including six athletic fields, a gym, tennis courts, basketball courts and a community center where the organization conducts many recreational programs.

Valley-Wide is responsible for several other parks on the east side of the city, including Sunrise Park (left) on the edge of the Heritage Lake development.

Mayor Scott Mann said this week that Wednesday's discussion is not a negative reflection on Valley-Wide's administration of parks and facilities. He said that a continued relationship with Valley-Wide is one of three options that could be discussed.

"The intent of the discussion is to eliminate duplication," Mann said. "It's not a matter of whether the city likes Valley-Wide or not.

"The question is this: When your city has incorporated, would you rather have control of the parks by a five-member board out of San Jacinto, or would you rather have local control?"

The staff report included in Wednesday's meeting agenda recommends the following:

-- The city terminate its services contract with Riverside County, which currently mainta