Programs to Continue At Lazy Creek Despite New Management

Children in the Lazy Creek Preschool begin the "Fun and Fitness" day by playing with t...

Children in the Lazy Creek Preschool begin the "Fun and Fitness" day by playing with their teachers and volunteers.
A popular park and recreation center in Menifee will undergo a change in management next week, but the public is being assured that all programs will remain the same.

The Lazy Creek Park and Recreation Center, which has been operated by Riverside County for several years, will be managed by Valley-Wide Recreation and Parks District starting July 1. The decision was made by the Menifee City Council in May after months of deliberation.

"It really is a natural progression for a city to take on its own programming and facilities as it matures," said Robert Lennox, director of community services. "Who runs them, though, is a different issue."

Valley-Wide has maintained parks on the east side of Menifee for about 25 years, and will now start operating parks on the west side. They have a good reputation with the public and can provide quality management at a cost affordable to the city. Currently, the city council is working with Valley-Wide in drafting a three-year contract that will include the operation of Lazy Creek and the Kay Ceniceros Senior Center.

Although the city's contract with the county expires June 30, council members said they would like Valley-Wide to keep the majority of current employees working at the park and recreation center. According to Gustavo Bermeo, special projects director at Valley-Wide, they were able to keep their promise.

"[Those employees] are great assets to that area because they've been there for so long and know the people in the program so well," he said. "I think it would be in our best interest to keep that consistency."

Valley-Wide is also keeping the programs at Lazy Creek, such as the preschool and summer camp, pretty much the same. Children such as Christian will continue to receive quality instruction and support from teachers and volunteers such as Jack Donaldson (right).

"We don't expect anything to change come July 1," said Bermeo. "If anything, we're going to add to the existing programs. We don't want to change anything that people are used to in the community."

Parents have definitely gotten used to the Lazy Creek Recreation Center, which has been offering programs for children since 1990.

"I love being able to offer fam