BY: VON LOZON
The Trenton Parks and Recreation Department is up and running at its new location at the Kennedy Recreation Center — marking its official return to the site where it operated from between 2001 and 2010. The move back to the Kennedy took place on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Parks and Recreation Director Joann Gonyea, other department members and professional movers packed up everything from City Hall and transported it to the Kennedy. The office was up and running in its new location Monday, Oct. 9.
Since this is the second time the department has been relocated from City Hall to KRC, the hope is that it won’t be moving anywhere else anytime soon. Originally stationed at City Hall, the department first moved to the rink in 2001 after a major expansion of the facility. Then, in 2010, in the midst of a recession, the administration at the time decided to move the department back to City Hall for “a variety of different reasons” that Gonyea said were no longer valid.
“This is the last move in my career,” she said. “At least, I hope so.”
The physical move may have taken just one work day, but the planning behind it took much longer than that. Gonyea said the department began planning the move in July due to staffing changes at the City Hall facility. The department was reorganized and part of the reorganization included the move back to the Kennedy.
The original goal for Gonyea was to move to Kennedy at the end of August, but modifications at the office and employing contractors for repainting and putting in new carpet prevented that goal from being reached.
“We freshened things up because it hadn’t been done in 17 years,” Gonyea said. “The original carpet — it needed a facelift. So it took us a little bit longer than anticipated but it was worth the wait.”
Gonyea believes the department will have better communication and be able to work more efficiently in being able to assist each other in day-to-day tasks, among other things, thanks to the move back to the Kennedy.
“This is the hub, this is where people come,” she said. “Initially one of the reasons for moving to City Hall seven years ago was because they wanted more traffic to City Hall. But the customers are here because they are going to do an open skating or a drop-in program or something like that.”
The Parks and Recreation staff consists of five full-time employees and a couple part-time employees. Together, the staff members help maintain and operate highly used places in Trenton such as the Kennedy’s hockey rinks and pool, the Westfield Activity Center and the Cultural Center.
And just because the department has moved, it doesn’t mean any of that will change.
“Everything is status quo,” Gonyea said. “The phone number is the same, the website and registration is the same. So (customers) will come (to the Kennedy) now if they need to come to our office instead of City Hall.”
And, for the time being at least, the space previously occupied by the department at City Hall will remain vacant, since no new use has been decided as of yet.