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Cortlandt Daily Voice serves Buchanan, Cortlandt & Croton

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Registration Dip In Cortlandt Recreation Programs

CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Spreading the word about new recreation programs can be difficult and Cortlandt Recreation Department officials said lower registration numbers don't make it easier for off-beat adult programs to get off the ground.

"We had to cancel some programs even when our brochure was mailed out, but we've just had to cancel our tai chi program," said John Palmiotto, recreation department director.

Badminton instructor, Jen Pellingra, setup a program with an open-play format last year, after discovering in high school, how much she enjoyed the sport. The program is now running for the third time, takes place at Blue Mountain Middle School and costs $25 for eight sessions.

"A lot of my friends weren't interested in anything, but everyone loved badminton. Nobody wore their gym pants to gym, but when it came to badminton everyone was there," she said about Walter Panas High School gym class.

Despite the popularity among some students during her time at Walter Panas, Pellingra has struggled to get even six applicants for the Town of Cortlandt's fall 2012 session.

"Everyone who's done it has had an excellent time," said Pellingra.

The town stopped mailing out recreation brochures in fall of 2010. Before the town stopped snail mailing the brochures, 17,000 were mailed out three times a year, in an attempt to reach about 35,000 Cortlandt residents.

The town now emails the brochures to about 1,300 individuals, posts it on Facebook – where 377 people "liked" the town as of Monday evening and therefore receive the updates, and prints about 500 to put in Cortlandt Town Hall. By going paperless, the town saves about $50,000 and Cortlandt officials often point out, the process is more environmentally friendly.

Palmiotto said the recreation department does other outreach to promote programs, especially for children's activities, through press releases and flyers.

Nevertheless, he said overall program registration is down for recreation programs, including summer camps.

Palmiotto said he thinks the dip in registration is multifaceted. "We think it's a combination of several factors, the economy, people not having the time and the fact that we're doing our best to get the word out," he said.

"Some programs, it's tougher to get the word out. The adult programs are a little bit more tough," said Palmiotto.

Anyone can receive the recreation brochure in their email by visiting the Town of Cortlandt website, clicking the "Updates by e-mail" link and signing up for "Town of Cortlandt Brochures." Palmiotto said late registrants are accepted on a case-by-case basis. 

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