Ferndale Parks and Rec Commission lays out priorities for 2024

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 20, 2024


FERNDALE — The Parks and Recreation Commission in Ferndale has a lot of goals in mind for 2024.

The chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Erin Molnar, shared the commission’s priorities for 2024 during a City Council meeting Feb. 12.

The first priority, as laid out by Molnar, is to inform and support a defined volunteer management strategy. According to the chair, most of the parks and recreation events are staffed by both the Parks and Recreation Department and volunteers, and she said it’s very challenging to get new volunteers for each event.

“We’re interested in trying to increase our volunteers, think about how we can recruit more volunteers, but also maintain and (make), like, a database or a list or something of past volunteers so we can just make that process of getting volunteers for each event a little bit easier,” she said.

Molnar also discussed the importance of communication and awareness of Parks and Recreation Department initiatives. She stated that feedback from the community showed that even when Ferndale had a community center, people were not aware of it or that classes were offered.

“So continuing to kind of market the Parks and Rec Department, I would say their biggest channel in terms of, like, regular updates is their Facebook page and also making sure that the new city website is updated with current information,” she said.

Molnar also extended that to keeping the community informed about new projects and developments that will be upcoming.

“There are many, especially coming up this year, lots of improvements to parks and many large projects happening at the same time, and people are interested in hearing how they’re going and progress and things like that,” she said.

The third priority is discussion on the Martin Road Park recreation facility and to spread awareness and boost participation in community meetings on the project, and the fourth priority was adding more adult programming for the department.

“We get feedback that more adult programming is wanted,” Molnar said. “We have senior stuff, we have kids stuff, we have less stuff for people in the middle, and especially without kids. So figuring out what we can add, how we can increase adult programming and be, as the Parks and Rec (commission), the kind of eyes and ears of the community to bring ideas in, look at what other cities are doing and what our constituency would be interested in.”

Parks and Recreation Director LaReina Wheeler told the Woodward Talk that she also would like to add more enrichment programming for youth and adults, and expand adult programming

“We’ve been lacking in that for a few years. We’re working on partnerships to try to secure locations where we can expand and have those additional services. In addition, we’ve been really expanding our senior programming with trips in our SMART Bus programming, as well with transportation to service all Ferndale residents — not just seniors — but we get a lot of senior riders,” she said. “We are available to everyone and just, in general, trying to communicate more with our residents, getting the word out more to them and helping bring more awareness to all the programs and changes and things that we are bringing about to the community.”