City, Community Education exploring collaboration

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, January 17, 2017

City officials are in the pilot stage of a possible collaboration with Albert Lea Community Education.

Staff of the city’s recreation department and Community Education are being shared on a fair amount of programming and are collaborating to avoid duplicating services, said Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams.

Chad Adams

Chad Adams

“We’re looking at options as to whether we should make a permanent spot for the two of those as we continue to kind of pilot that partnership,” Adams said.

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“We’re just kind of taking a look at it, one program and one idea and one initiative at a time, and trying to come up with our broader strategy and timing.”

A meeting is planned in the next month to decide the next steps to the possible co-location.

“Everything appears to be working very well, so I don’t see us going backwards at all,” Adams said.

Permanent spots for the two entities could include City Arena or downtown.

It was announced last May that the two entities were exploring options to provide recreation services. Options included co-locating the departments while having them operate independently or co-locating the departments and sharing registration, staff and equipment.

An electronic one-registration system is possible so residents would have a one-stop shop to sign up for recreation and Community Education activities.

“That’s something that we’re going to talk about,” Adams said.

Community Education is at Marion Ross Performing Arts Center, 147 N. Broadway. Recreation is at City Arena.

“That seems to be working very well,” Adams said of Community Education’s location. “They don’t have a lot of foot traffic, but they do have an easy, accessible location.”

Adams views co-locating the entities as beneficial.

“Not duplicating services, not duplicating equipment, not duplicating staff,” he said. “Or, if we have to add staff, by co-locating it’s going to minimize the need for that, so we’re saving ultimately the taxpayers or the user’s dollars by not having too much overhead, so it makes sense.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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