ST. JOSEPH COUNTY – Our warm winter didn't do much to help the bottom line for the St. Joseph County Parks Department. Revenue was down about 83 percent. But the early spring is helping to bring the numbers up.
For Evie Kirkwood, St. Joseph County Parks director, it's been a slow winter. For the past month and a half, these parks have hosted no winter activities at all.
"It's the first February that we believe we have had zero revenue ever for a winter program for that month." Kirkwood said.
There have only been a few days throughout the entire winter good enough to allow snow inner-tubing at county parks. While snowshoeing and cross country skiing barely happened at all. And the numbers show it.
This past winter, gross revenue for inner-tubing and cross country skiing was $11,000. And much of that money came from selling used ski equipment. Some of it was also refunded to customers because there was no snow, according to Kirkwood.
The previous winter, St. Joseph County Parks grossed $40,000 from the same activities.
So what's that mean for parks' budget and for you and me? According to Kirkwood, not a whole lot.
"We'll probably defer some projects or maintenance activities but pretty much in terms of most operations that the public will see, they probably won’t see a big difference." Krikwood said.
That's because the warm weather has brought people to the parks as well. And the disc golf courses are cashing in earlier than normal.
"We had a record season and month of February for disc golf, it was easy for people to play disc golf and that was great too." Kirkwood said.
Disc golf set another record this past weekend with the number of players using the parks.
Kirkwood says the mild winter also saved the department in overtime costs, plowing costs and heating bills.