The following is a written statement presented to the Ontario City Council during its June 11, 2015 worksession.
Mr. Mayor and members of the City Council, I am here today to address some concerns regarding our recently purposed partnership between the City of Ontario and Four Rivers Healthy Community. As you know, I presented on this topic during a city council work session, on Thursday, May 28th. At that time I shared with you our vision for a community recreation center. This vision was based on previous conversations, between city representatives and members of 4RHC. Since that time, there has been some much-publicized questions surrounding our intentions. I would like to take a few minutes to clarify our objective.
First and foremost, I want to make clear, Four Rivers Healthy Community is committed to realizing the public need for a community recreation center. Unfortunately, there has been a disconnect on what we mean when we say those three words … community recreation center. There are many reasons why we use this term.
As I shared with you at the previous work session, talk of a community recreation center has been at the top of our organization’s agenda since our founding.
I have had several conversations with potential funders and experts in the nonprofit industry, and the hard truth is most funders don’t contribute to pools. Funders do, however, contribute to facilities that have meeting and program opportunities such as recreation centers. Now we know, that generally speaking, a recreation center has a pool as part of its programing.
As you well know, stand-alone pools rarely sustain themselves. However, a pool that is part of programing for a recreation center can become sustainable through its counterparts. Four Rivers Healthy Community sees the opportunity that sustainability brings to our community. A community recreation center that houses a pool and is sustainable is simply put, business done right.
And lets not forget, a recreation center is an important, verifiable asset to our community. You will recall I previously mentioned, recreation center programs offer cost-effective means for addressing problems in our community and that recreation centers can build a better and more livable community.
How we realize a community recreation center is dependent on input provided thru the partnership of the Council and 4RHC.
In addition to the term Community Recreation Center, there are also several questions surrounding the details of the memorandum of understanding draft that I provided at our last meeting. It is important to note the initial MOU framework was provided at the request of the City during one of our meetings. It was my understanding that this document was to serve as a first draft. Plainly put, it was to be a starting point for our organizations to begin the establishment of an official partnership.
After the work session meeting on Thursday May, 28th, it was my understanding that designated representatives from Four Rivers Healthy Community and members from the City would meet to hash out the specific details of the MOU. I am disappointed that this meeting has yet to be scheduled, and in fact put on hold after the meeting of the City Council on Monday, June 1.
Certainly, when Mayor Verini tasked the MOU committee he intended for us to address the very concerns that came up at your Monday meeting. Unfortunately, I was not there to address your questions, and a series of assumptions developed. Again, it was my belief that your questions and concerns would be discussed in a committee meeting. We too have questions for you, and I look forward to the committee meeting where we can talk through our ideas, needs and wants. I have no doubt that as a group we can overcome any hurdles our partnership might face. All this requires is conversation.
It is my hope that my presence today will help clear up any misunderstandings the council has regarding our goal. In the future, I would encourage any of you to personally reach out to me with questions or concerns. Developing a partnership is tedious work. I expect that there will be a continued need for open communication, in order to truly build an effective team between our organization and the city. At this time I am prepared to answer any questions you might have.
Casey Clark Ney
Four Rivers Healthy Community