By Jeff Simms
Mark Price is director of the Beacon Recreation Department.
You oversee the parks, the pool, camps and afterschool programs, among other duties. Are you feeling overwhelmed?
The mayor and the City Council have supported the expansion of the program, so with a few people and a little bit of money, cool stuff happens. Our budgets and capital projects are back. Plus, we have a good footprint here with a lot of parks and a base of volunteers.
The afterschool program is in its second year. How did you design it?
Our goal wasn’t to provide kid-watching. It was about providing an experience. And parents can pick days — a child can go one day or every day. The versatility is what people like, whether it be karate or cooking or, this year, podcasting. We have lots of experts in Beacon on the arts, movement and culinary. With Silly Science, we have someone who’s great at making slime and doing fun backyard projects.
Are the programs breaking even?
We’re close. Summer camp paid for itself. The pool has been open for three summers, and each year we get more swimmers and a little closer to break even. We’re hoping to break even with the afterschool program in the third or fourth year.
What does a recreation director do to recreate?
I live right off the Sunnyside Trailhead on the Fishkill Ridge side, so me and the dog are up there often to hike. I’m also obsessed with trout. For fly-fishing, I go to Connecticut and the Catskills. You have to find cold, clear water.
What’s next on the agenda?
We have some work to do at the University Settlement camp and tuning up other city parks. Between the Wee Play playground expansion at Memorial Park and the skate park, there’s a lot of stuff coming within the next year.