As you have likely heard, there are significant staffing/labor shortages occurring across the nation. Madison Parks is certainly no exception. We still have about 100 positions we would like to fill for this year. We have been working creatively to broaden our opportunities to attract talent by attending job fairs, making presentations at high schools, offering a hiring and retention bonus in select positions, and hosting our own hiring fair this Friday, in conjunction with the Warner Family Fun Night at WPCRC.
Even with these expanded efforts, we do not believe we will achieve the level of staffing we need to have to provide all of the critical services to the public that is expected. Given the current and sustained staffing needs, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Ride the Drive for 2022. This is not an easy choice for Parks, but the event takes significant staff resources to plan, promote, and execute successfully. We have made the choice to focus our programming efforts on WPCRC, Olbrich Gardens, Aquatics, and neighborhood park-focused events. The more neighborhood-focused events include the Sina Davis Movies in the Park, the Learning Series, Carts in Parks, and developing meaningfully inclusive programming at Glenway Golf Park.
We are hopeful that we can work to systematically address the staffing issues we have to promote improvements to the programming offered in parks moving forward, but we just cannot do everything on the list with the resources we have for 2022. I wanted to make sure you were all aware of the decision regarding Ride the Drive as soon as possible after we made the difficult decision. There are additional potential service level impacts on the horizon, but we are working to reduce those as much as possible. We will continue to communicate with you all as we move into what is likely to be a very challenging spring/summer for Parks.
We look forward to working with community partners and stakeholders to plan for a return of Ride the Drive in 2023.
Madison Parks Superintendent