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Sparks Parks and Recreation receives $50,000
by Garrett Valenzuela
Jan 28, 2013 | 3479 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photo -- Following Monday’s Sparks City Council Meeting, the Sparks City Council wanted to show their support for Colin Kaepernick by Kaepernicking behind the dais at City Hall. From left to right: Councilman Ed Lawson, Councilwoman Julia Ratti, Mayor Geno Martini, Councilman Ron Smith, Councilman Mike Carrigan and Councilman Ron Schmitt.
Courtesy photo -- Following Monday’s Sparks City Council Meeting, the Sparks City Council wanted to show their support for Colin Kaepernick by Kaepernicking behind the dais at City Hall. From left to right: Councilman Ed Lawson, Councilwoman Julia Ratti, Mayor Geno Martini, Councilman Ron Smith, Councilman Mike Carrigan and Councilman Ron Schmitt.
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SPARKS — The Sparks Parks and Recreation Department was awarded $50,000 in grant funding by the Nell J. Redfield Foundation to continue its Free Neighborhood Playground and the Leisure Without Limits programs for children living with disabilities. The action came at Monday’s Sparks City Council meeting.

The Playground Program has been in Sparks for more than 20 years and was originally hosted among various Sparks parks during the summer months for children. The program now operates at the Larry D. Johnson Community Center in Sparks and offers activities for children living with disabilities.

Councilwoman Julia Ratti said Thursday the funding has been vital for both the Playground and Leisure Without Limits programs and said the ability to receive the funding for numerous years reflects on the Parks and Recreation Department’s staff.

“I am astounded that the (Parks and Recreation Department) continues to receive this money because grant foundations usually don’t give to agencies for this long,” Ratti said, commending the staff and expressing the need for this funding to provide those programs. “I think it really speaks to the quality of the programs and the quality of the grant writing and reporting being given to the foundation.”

The Nell J. Redfield Foundation provides $22,000 for the Playground Program and another $28,000 for the Leisure Without Limits program. City staff will be seeking additional funding of about $15,000 to continue the Teen Discovery program, according to city documents.

The Sparks City Council also approved the city’s plan to construct its business visitation program in which members of the Council will accompany city staff members during visits to local businesses to improve retention.

The project stems from a proposal by the council in a November 2012 workshop to promote economic development in the area. The city plans to use some techniques suggested by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) for handling large businesses, as well as integrating its own strategies for handling smaller local businesses.

The city plans to visit 75 businesses during the year and hopes to begin visits as early as March. For council and staff members, the 75 target number would amount to about 11-13 visits per year and about 1-3 visits per month. The city will further develop the formal agenda for visits and goals in the coming weeks.
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