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Plummeting membership, attendance leads to layoffs for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation

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The COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation.

CCPR suffered a net loss of $1.3 million for the year through the end of October, causing the department to terminate eight full-time positions, roughly 10 percent of its full-time workforce. CCPR Director Michael Klitzing told the Carmel City Council at its Dec. 7 meeting that more reductions are possible as the pandemic continues.

Klitzing

Klitzing

Membership at the Monon Community Center is as low as it’s been since the facility opened in 2007, Klitzing said. The MCC has approximately 3,000 members, down from 5,000 before the pandemic. Attendance at recreational programs is down 92 percent.

Extended School Enrichment, CCPR’s before- and after-school care program, has also felt the impact. Attendance in the before-school program has dropped by 74 percent, with numbers so low CCPR is transferring that program to Carmel Clay Schools to staff as they are able.

After-school program attendance is down 65 percent. Whereas ESE served approximately 1,200 students per day through the program before the pandemic, it’s now seeing approximately 400 students per day.

Klitzing told the city council the declines can all be attributed to COVID-19 and that he expects an eventual rebound once the pandemic is under control.

“I’m very confident we’re planting the seeds today to make sure we do come back every bit as successful as before the pandemic hit us,” he said.

CCPR announced in October that it had received the prestigious Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, but it has been unable to celebrate the accomplishment because of the pandemic and its restrictions. When the celebration finally occurs, Klitzing said effects of the pandemic will dampen it.

“I like to describe our current team as a championship team,” Klitzing said. “Some of those players are not going to be with us when we have the opportunity to celebrate.”


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