SIDNEY — The youth of Sidney again benefitted from the generosity of local benefactors and businesses.
“Thanks to their civic and social mindedness, the recreation department was able to provide swimming lessons at no charge, and offer free clinics in tennis, fishing, art and science to name a few,” said Duane Gaier, city of Sidney Parks and Recreation Department director. “Without these kind donations of time and talent or funding, many of these programs could not have been offered to the local children. More than 300 kids were able to Learn, Play and Grow, by participating in the 2015 recreation programs offered by the recreation department.”
His report continues:
New to recreation programing in 2015 was, Explore Nature in Tawawa Park. During this educational session, Ranger Aselage shared the diverse flora, fauna and history of Tawawa Park with the youngsters in attendance. Prior to this program, the Sidney Police Department offered bike registration with Officer Mike McRill to anyone that brought their bicycles to the clinic.
The 19th annual Mayfest Soccer Classic provided not only an economic boon for Sidney; it was also a great opportunity to watch quality soccer. This annual tournament is one of the premier soccer events in the Ohio South Youth Soccer Association and has brought high-level soccer teams from all over Ohio and the surrounding states. Another large event that brought many people to Sidney was the return of the Field of Flags and the Vietnam Memorial Wall to Custenborder Fields. The weeklong event kicked off with the installation of over 1000 American Flags inside the fence of the Legion Field at Custenborder. A motorcycle escort of the Traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial on Wednesday saw thousands of people lining the route from Wapakoneta to Sidney. They watched the parade of motorcycles leading The Wall to Custenborder in order to pay their respects for all of the names engraved on the black monument. In addition, there were speakers, a patriotic Sidney Civic Band concert, a car show and 5K run among other experiences that reminded all of us that Freedom is not free. This showcase celebration of remembrance was a very proud week for Sidney and Shelby County.
This year will bring another exciting display of history and honor to the parks for Sidney and the surrounding areas. A Civil War reenactment will take over the entire 226-acre Tawawa Park the weekend of Sept. 17, 2016. The weekend’s events will have encampments of Union and Confederate soldiers within the park, with skirmishes throughout the grounds and a battle over the covered bride. The parks staff is looking forward to assisting the Shelby County Historical Society to bring this historic reenactment to Sidney.
Last year, parks staff was also very busy preparing the athletic fields for the various 2015 sports seasons; making sure that over 40 fields were safe and in perfect condition for play of over 2100 games. This provided recreation for more than 450 different teams and almost 7,500 baseball, softball, football and soccer athletes. Active recreation is very strong in the City’s parks.
Park patrons will again benefit from a kind donation from Emerson Climate Technologies. With their $20,000.00 donation, park staff will install new play equipment in the Baker’s Range section of Tawawa Park. This equipment is well past its 15 year expected use. Along with this structure, city council approved capital projects include: a modular play structure to be replaced in Tawawa Park, continued development of the Robert O. New Park allowing construction of a basketball court and the removal of more Ash and other dangerous trees in the parks.