Parks & Rec takes activity registrations online

The new online registration website for Monticello Parks & Rec allows users to create an account, sign up their child(ren) for activities, and pay the fees as well. In the future, Parks & Rec plans to add facility rentals and swimming passes, too.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     It’s been several years since the Monticello City Council went paperless, using iPads to conduct business during the council meetings.

     In line with that initiative, Monticello Parks & Rec Department is working to bring their services online.

     Right now, you can visit the Parks & Rec Facebook page where you’ll find a link to create an account on the new Civic Rec site. That account allows users to sign up their child(ren) or themselves for Parks & Rec-sponsored activities, as well as pay the registration fee.

     This project has been a year or more in the works, at a cost of around $6,000. There is an annual $1,500 fee as well.

     Parks & Rec staff Jacob Oswald and Shannon Poe spent about six months being trained on the software that has been up and running for about a week. Already, users have created 39 individual accounts, including residents from Monticello, Anamosa, and Scotch Grove.

     “We had to build the system, create the forms, waivers, fees, etc.,” noted Oswald of all that went into the backend of the program.

     Aside from wanting to get away from the paper registration forms and setting up appointments for people to register for Parks & Rec programs, this new program expands communication services as well. Oswald said it makes sure that people are filling out all of the required fields of the registration form. It allows Parks & Rec to send group emails to specific people, such as those taking part in youth soccer. They can also send text and email reminders out. Any activities you register for can also be linked to personal online calendars as well.

     Oswald said the department will be able to run efficiency reports from a participant standpoint, something that’s needed for record-keeping. This becomes more accurate than keeping track via an Excel document.

     “The pros really outweigh the cons,” Oswald said. “We can keep track of the kids’ ages and grades and know exactly what level they need to register for.”

     More online services will be added to the program once everyone involved, including the public, feels comfortable with the online process. Those include the ability to rent the Berndes Center, as well as all other Parks & Rec facilities and shelters. In addition, the ability to sign up for and pay for a pass to the Aquatic Center, as well as sign up for swimming lessons.

     Oswald said the program will eventually give them the capabilities to create an in-house point of sale to use in connection with the concession stand at the pool.

     Parks & Rec can also create QR codes for each of the facilities and shelters, allowing the public to scan the code with a smartphone and reserve on the spot.

     “It really simplifies a lot of things,” he said of the endless files of paperwork.

     Right now, just those youth and adult sporting activities sponsored by Parks & Rec are available to register for online. Eventually they will add such programming as pickleball and walking indoors.

     “It really makes things easier on the public side,” Oswald said.

     Should Parks & Rec have to refund registration fees for any reason, such as canceling events due to the pandemic, this online program applies any refund as a credit to another activity.

     “We can also set registration deadlines and apply and stick to late fees,” added Oswald.

     Again, anyone who wishes to sign up for an activity or rent a facility must create an online account.

     “The public can also eventually go in and see what dates are available with different rentals,” Oswald said. “That’s a nice addition.”

     For specific details on the online registration process, contact Parks & Rec at 319-465-6640.


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