Activities are planned June 20 at Westside Park by Houston Community Foundation.

Forced to cut budget losses from its programs, the Houston Park Board made multiple changes at its Oct. 14 monthly meeting that will affect several sports beginning next year.

Among the biggest adjustments are closing the pool to the public Mondays – it was already closed Sundays – and eliminating pool passes and fall soccer.

City Administrator Larry Sutton said the moves were necessary as programs annually lose money. He said the city budgeted $216,000 for parks and recreation and only $3,000 remains for the rest of 2009.

Sutton said several communities face the same dilemma. He said West Plains’ pool is open four days, and two Springfield pools have closed.

“We want to continue to provide as many services as we can,” Sutton said. “We’re not in this to cut more programs.”

Among the changes for 2010 are:

-Increase in pool party rate to $125 for less than 50 people and $150 for more. All pool passes will be eliminated. Single day cost is $2 for those under 18 years old and $3 for adults.

-Swim team rate will increase to $45 per individual, and each swimmer must provide their own swim suit and T-shirt. A volunteer coach will lead the team.

-Fall soccer will be eliminated. Spring soccer will remain.

-T-ball and toss ball fees will increase to $40 for ages 4-8 and $50 for ages 9-18. No umpires will be used for the 4-8 age group.

-Basketball teams will be charged $150 for up to 10 players and $15 for each additional member.

More volunteers and one official will be used to cut costs.

-Mighty Mites football will be turned over to the league instead of ran by the city.

Sutton pointed out the city continues work on a walking trail and park improvements and continues to have a full-time director. He said a long discussion took place before the park board made any adjustments.

“We want to provide as much as we can and stay within the budget,” Sutton said.

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