The Blue Springs Parks and Recreation Department gave its first annual report to the City Council Monday night, detailing the successes of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Dennis Dovel, director of the Blue Springs Parks and Recreation department, said that while most departments have done similar reports, the parks department “really has not,” which it aims to change.

“This is an area we’re trying to grow in, to try and inform you (the council) as residents of the work done each year in the Parks Department.

Dovel’s presentation focused on recreation in Blue Springs, senior services at Vesper Hall, the Fieldhouse and the parks sales tax passed by the voters with 70 percent in favor in 2018.

Dovel said the department saw a 115 percent increase in youth sports participants. In the 2016-17 year, the number of participants was 709, according to Dovel’s presentation, and jumped to 1,526 in 2017-18. This included three new youth sports programs, including youth basketball, lacrosse day camp and machine pitch baseball.

In the same time frame, Vesper Hall served more than 13,000 lunches to senior citizens, and more than 18,000 homebound lunches to seniors normally unable to leave their home to obtain a nutritious meal. The hall also boasted more than 14,000 volunteer hours. These hours came from 1,186 volunteers.

Program registrations were down from the previous year, moving from a little fewer than 25,000 to a little fewer than 23,000, according to the numbers provided by Dovel, but participants in special events rose by approximately 300.

Membership at the Fieldhouse increased by about 100, according to the presentation, seeing personal training sessions rise from 150 to 508.

The park sales tax is meant to revitalize and repair parks around the city, and Dovel provided a list of projects completed in the 2017-18 fiscal year. These included:

• Rotary Park playground

• Ward Park playground

• Pink Hill Park tennis courts

• Adams Pointe Golf Club bunkers

• Baumgardner Park trail

• Woods Chapel Park trail

• Duncan Road trail, east of Adams Dairy Parkway.

The big project this year, according to Dovel, is Old Mill Park. Dovel explained an architect has been hired to redesign it, and the new park will include a one-way road all around, which he said will improve parking.

“We’re revitalizing our community parks, that’s the number one priority today,” Dovel said regarding the tax. “It’s our desire for everyone to get out and play naturally.”

Dover’s presentation also included the department’s revenues and expenses by division.

Expenses (and percentage of budget):

• Park maintenance: $1,933,449, 41%

• Senior services: $484,653, 10%

• Pool: $3,436, less than 1 percent

• Recreation: $491,992, 11%

• Administration: $417,098, 9%

• Fieldhouse: $715,926, 15%

• Building Maintenance: $667, 297, 14%

Revenue (and percentage of budget):

• Recreation: $307,176, 44%

• Administration: $148,170, 22%

• Senior Services: $236,719, 34%