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Ramsey, MN Digitizes Recreation Management System, Saves Hours of Manual Administration

Ramsey Parks and Recreation Department

Ramsey, MN

The Ramsey, MN Parks and Recreation Department made the leap to digital administrative workflows to ensure its residents had easy access to facilities, activities, and recreation services.

Topics Covered

Customer Service
Process Improvement

Cost

Initial: 1 Thousand USD

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2019

Gov Champion

Information Technology Manager

Problem Addressed

After an increase in resident participation in Parks and Recreation programs, staff members needed to reevaluate the efficiency of their manual logging system.

To coordinate reservations, the Parks and Recreation department was using a combination of manual documentation and Microsoft Outlook. If residents wanted to register for the city’s recreational activities, they had to use a separate platform. This sign-up process was inefficient, as residents would often be redirected to the Parks and Recreation department to complete registration due to confusion within the platform. This created a constant cycle of inconvenience for residents and an increased amount of work for the department’s limited staff. 

Ramsey’s Parks & Recreation Assistant—who was half of the department’s two-person staff—was spending 24 to thirty hours per week on the phone with residents coordinating facility reservations. According to Jason Fredrickson, City of Ramsey Information Technology Manager, when graduation season approached annually, the peak season for facility reservations, the Parks & Recreation Assistant’s time became nearly entirely consumed with manual request management and scheduling.

Without a dedicated recreation management system, the Parks and Recreation department knew they would be constantly backlogged with requests from residents, taking away time from their other workflow tasks.

Solutions Used

Ramsey implemented a cloud-based recreation management system with online resident self-service functionality for registrations, reservations, and online payments.

The City of Ramsey wanted to integrate a new website solution to their existing software, CivicPlus, that would allow for a self-service facility scheduling option. This tool allowed Ramsey’s Park & Recreation assistant to spend significantly less time taking calls to coordinate facility reservations in their busier seasons. 

During the implementation process, Ramsey’s IT Manager, Jason Frederickson, was able to be hands-on and lead the integration of the city’s existing data to the new platform. This made the process more efficient, accurate, and helped the city’s small IT Department to quickly complete onboarding and training to manage the new website. 

“Our Assistant’s days are a lot less hectic,” said Fredrickson. “We went live with [the software] at a time when she would normally be flooded with reservation calls,” said Fredrickson. “To help facilitate the transition, we notified some of our busiest and most tech-savvy groups and people of interest in advance about [CivicPlus.] We watched the phones and monitored the online system closely during that first month. We immediately saw a reduction in volume and call duration. Having [the software] available for people to go online and self-service their reservations allows us to expand the window during which people can place reservations.”

In addition to the self-service scheduling option, the software allows for more efficiency in managing the city’s services. Ramsey offers recreational programs and activities for all ages and has been able to adapt the platformfor residents to complete their registration on the same site as they can reserve a facility. Additionally, the city’s Parks and Recreation department has been able to use the site to process refunds to residents when applicable. 

The Parks and Recreation Department is able to customize the website for the city’s specific needs, and is available to the community 24/7. Since the website’s launch, resident feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with how convenient it is to use one system for multiple tasks. 

Outcomes

1

The Parks & Recreation Department Assistant at the City of Ramsey spends significantly less time on the phone and can dedicate her focus to other vital projects and her days are less hectic.

2

Enabling the public to go online and self-service their reservations allows the Parks and Recreation team to expand the window during which people can place reservations.

3

The City has expanded its community recreation programs, including adding classes like dance, Zumba, yoga, art in the park for kids, exploring archery and star-watching.

4

Residents appreciate being able to use the same system to register for an event that they use to reserve a facility.

Lessons Learned

1

Residents needed the ability to place reservations outside of business hours. The recreation management system's data shows that people place reservations at all hours of the day and night.

Something Unique

The recreation management system integrates with the City's website, since they are managed by the same technology partner.

Who Should Consider

Any recreation management department using manual processes to manage reservations and that are limited to calls, emails, and walk-ins for reservations.

Government Project Team

  • Jason Fredrickson, Information Technology Manager

Last Updated

Aug 5th, 2022

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