Council Workshop Produces Lots of Information, No Solution

City council members were greeted by another overflow crowd Wednesday night when a workshop was ...

City council members were greeted by another overflow crowd Wednesday night when a workshop was held to discuss options for parks and recreation control on the west side of Menifee.
Well, at least no one can say the Menifee City Council hasn't studied this issue carefully.

At the end of the most detailed discussion yet among several meetings that have addressed the situation, council members decided Wednesday night that they needed one more gathering before making a decision on control and maintenance of parks and recreation facilities on the west side of the city.

With the June 30 termination of the city's contract with Riverside County for west-side parks maintenance rapidly approaching, council members held over a decision until their May 7 meeting, indicating a final decision would be made then. Meanwhile, they did their best to calm the fears of several public speakers concerned about the possible disruption of summer programs traditionally held at facilities west of the 215 Freeway.

"For those who deliver those programs, please continue your planning and proceed as usual," Mayor Scott Mann told the audience before adjourning the meeting. "Rest easy; your programs will continue."

Many among those who addressed the council were local residents who have worked for Riverside County for years in directing and maintaining the preschool, after-school and summer programs at the Lazy Creek Park Recreation Center. Others included parents who spoke passionately about the value of those programs to their families.

Both parties involved in the discussion assured those residents that the programs would continue and at least some existing staff members would keep their jobs, no matter which entity controls the seven west-side parks and Kay Ceniceros Senior Center (left). But that still doesn't answer the big question:

City of Menifee or Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District?

Valley-Wide has contracted with area cities for more than 40 years to provide parks and recreation services. All parks east of the 215 Freeway in Menifee are maintained by Valley-Wide. Virtually no one has a bad thing to say about Valley-Wide's performance in t