Local parks are the latest victim in the county’s economic struggle.
Dawson County announced new operation hours at Veterans Memorial and Rock Creek parks recently to help offset continuing declines in revenue.
Beginning Oct. 1, the parks will be open everyday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Business office hours are Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Recreation centers and gymnasiums are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday - Saturday.
The parks will be closed Nov. 26 and Dec. 24 and 25 for the holidays.
While park gates will be open on Sept. 4, Sept. 7, Oct. 2, Oct. 30, Nov. 11, Nov. 25, Nov. 27 and Dec. 23, park buildings will be closed.
Park officials say the reduction in hours will not affect any park and recreation activities.
“We’re not going to close the park if a game goes past 9 o’clock. We’ll stay and keep it open until the job is done,” said Park Director Lisa Henson. “We’re going to be able to do this without impacting any services of our current or future activities.”
Faced with a 20 percent decline in revenue and the five approved furlough days through the end of the year, each county department was asked to cut about 18 percent from their budgets.
Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner said limited park hours of operation, coupled with several cost saving methods implemented by park staff, will save the county about $60,000 over the next four months.
“The park staff has been so great about this. They came to me with a list of ways they thought they could make cuts without having to cut into services,” he said.
Henson said she and her staff are continuing to look for additional ways to save, while maintaining and trying to improve the level of services available to park guests.
“We’re looking for more ways we can save money. We’ve already taken conservation measures to reduce utilities and reduced a few man hours, but I don’t think anyone will see a real large impact on their park usage,” she said. “If you do, please let us know if there’s a conflict.”