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Classes enjoy a busy winter

Attendance is booming in sports, arts, dance sessions offered by city.

May 05, 2010|By

CITY HALL — Nearly 50% more people this winter enrolled in city-sponsored recreational classes, ranging from belly dancing to watercolor painting, compared with the year before, according to the latest figures.

During the 10-week winter session starting in January, 582 people registered for classes sponsored by the Community Services & Parks Department. During the same session last year, 402 people were enrolled, according to a city report.

The classes — which are offered in sports, art, dance and other areas — take place Mondays through Saturdays throughout the day for youth and adults. Most classes cost less than $100 for the 10-week session.

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“We are doing pretty good right now,” said Community Services Supervisor Monique Herrera, who pointed out that some of the most popular classes doubled in attendance.

She attributed the enrollment boost to more aggressive marketing efforts and offering the classes in more areas of the city.

“It is what I saw in parks from the very beginning that the community has no idea how many things Community Services & Parks offer,” said Dottie Sharkey, chairwoman of the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission. “I am delighted that word is getting out and more and more people are discovering these programs.”

The increased enrollment also came despite a drop in available classes, from 59 in 2009 to 45 this year. The reduction was caused by a loss of teachers and available city facilities to host the classes, Herrera said.

Officials recently converted instructors into hourly city positions rather than contractors, she said. Some teachers opted not to make the switch and were not replaced for the winter session.

The switch also required that the department adopt a strict minimum number of participants for all of the classes.

Facilities were also limited with the community room at Griffith Manor Park closed to the public since last summer to accommodate construction on major infrastructure improvements.

And classes slated for the community building at Dunsmore Park in north Glendale had to be canceled when city officials turned the building into an emergency command center during threats of debris flows.

“We had to cancel all of the classes,” she said. “It was just too much of an impact.”

Herrerra said city officials have noticed the recent jump in attendance and plan to program as many classes as possible.


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