Wake board funds online park reservations, rural DWI enforcement

09/02/2014 5:53 PM

09/02/2014 6:40 PM

Wake County parks and open spaces are – by nature – low tech, but reserving a picnic shelter or a spot in an educational program there will soon be state of the art.

The county board of commissioners voted Tuesday to sign a three-year contract with The Active Network Inc. to create an online reservation and payment system for the county’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space department starting in 2015.

In a year, the department handles about 600 shelter reservations and about 5,500 educational program registrations, all by hand. Park patrons can go online to see what’s offered, but to find out if there is space available, they have to call the park. Then, they have to download and print a form, fill it out and mail or deliver it to the park with a check.

Park staffers then deposit the checks, and workers track shelter availability and class enrollment on paper.

The department has planned to move to an online registration system for years, and began to do so with the county’s own IT staff in 2008. But the economic downturn that year forced the project to be delayed. Last year, the county restarted the effort by inviting vendor proposals.

The Active Network was chosen from five vendors that responded. A report to the board of commissioners says the company is one of the largest providers of recreation management software in the world and that it provides services for several local municipalities, including Raleigh and Cary.

The county is expected to pay the company about $61,500 over the three years of the contract, including a 4.95 percent fee for each transaction. The payment will vary by the number of transactions, according to the agreement.

In other action, commissioners unanimously approved a plan by County Manager Jim Hartmann to file for a second year of funding for a team of officers dedicated solely to enforcing DWI laws in rural areas. The money, $287,225, is a federal grant administered by the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

The county would contribute an additional $57,445 for a total of $344,670 to reduce intoxicated driving on main and secondary roads in unincorporated parts of the county, mostly through checkpoints.

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