Mobile Rec Rolling Out
Staff Report, 06-05-2019

(Left to Right) Owen Bartek, 5, John Campbell (Garage Supt), Fire Chief Fred Jackson, Mayor Don Walters, Tara Bartek (Recreation Program Manager), Sara Kline (Parks and Recreation Superintendent) and Lindsay Conner (Mobile Rec Manager) cut the ceremonial rope for the Mobile Rec vehicle on the Downtown Pavilion.
Stephen Mule
On May 14th, the Cuyahoga Falls Parks Department officially unveiled its newest means of bringing activities to city residents—Mobile Rec. Mayor Don Walters, Parks Department Superintendent Sara Kline, and Fire Chief Fred Jackson were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which allowed residents to climb inside the repurposed ambulance and get a look at all the games, crafting supplies, and more on board. Kids in attendance got free snow cones and played with giant Connect 4 and checker games laid out on the Downtown Pavilion. The Mobile Rec unit was officially transferred from the Fire Department to the Parks Department complete with a passing of the keys from Jackson to Kline, and it will now make appearances in city parks four days per week in June and July, as well as showing up at the Falls Downtown Fridays event series, Farmers’ Market in the Falls, and Keyser Park concert series this summer.

Kline described the project as a collaborative effort, but said credit for the idea should largely go to Recreation Program Manager Tara Bartek. “Tara brought me the idea and really was a great advocate for it, and so we got our heads together and we called [Superintendent of Motor Vehicles] John Campbell, and everything kind of aligned and fell into place because he said ‘well we have an ambulance that's being decommissioned, what do you think about an ambulance for Mobile Rec?’ and everything worked out,” Kline said.

The entire process from conception to delivery took just three months, in part because of the happenstance of an available ambulance that was to be decommissioned. Falls resident Eric Hummel, a vehicle graphics sales representative for the Visual Marking Systems in Twinsburg, provided the vehicle wrap that adorns the Mobile Rec unit.

Kline said she hopes to bring Mobile Rec out at the request of residents as well. “We want to have people invite us to their neighborhoods randomly, so anyone who’s a member of a homeowner’s association or a group of families that say ‘hey, we’d love to have mobile rec come,’ give us a call to see if we can work that into our schedule.”

As for the cost to the city, since the ambulance was being decommissioned, it was a vehicle the city already owned that was repurposed after it passed its lifespan as an ambulance. Ordinarily, such a vehicle would have been auctioned off at a fraction of its $250,000 purchase price. The vinyl wrap was paid for out of the Parks Department budget, along with the games, toys, and crafting supplies on board, and the usual seasonal employees of the Parks Department will be dispatched to bring Mobile Rec around the city as part of the summer activity schedule.

“I think for the public at large and the community, this is just a great repurposing of assets that the city already had, and bringing a new amenity to the city that it hasn’t had, so we’re very excited about that,”Kline said.

Mayor Walters said “we know that not everyone can make it to the parks...now we can bring parks to people.”

For more information about Mobile Rec, including the schedule of when and where residents can see it in their neighborhood parks, visit https://www.cityofcf.com/activity/mobile-rec.


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