Rec board elects new officers

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY —The Sidney Recreation Board elected Angie Ross as the new chair and Amy Zorn as the new secretary at its May meeting.

Ross will replace Tim Bickel as the current chair and Zorn will replace Mary Jannides as secretary.

Sidney Recreation Specialist Jennie Rogers passed out 2019 summer recreation clinic and municipal pool brochures. They are available on the parks and recreation department’s web page. All summer programs are all free and run from June 3 to Aug. 9 at various times and days. Registration is required; see the brochure for various preregistration deadlines. Children can be enrolled by calling 937-498-8155.

The summer lunch program is offered between 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at 12 locations Monday through Friday. Rogers said this year, due to grant funds, three new locations were added at the city’s service center and Orbison and Julia Lamb Parks.

Every Friday, children will also be provided with weekend meals through the Backpack program. The typical “backpack” usually will contain a variety of protein, cereal, granola bars, pudding cups and fruit juices. This program is 100 percent funded by Sidney Body Carstar, Cargill, Emerson Climate Technologies and Buckeye Ford.

In other business, Sidney Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier gave the board information about the following topics:

• Sidney’s “Tour de Way” guide. The Great Miami Riverway trail tourism brochure outlines locations in Sidney that participants can visit and gain points to win prizes. Gaier said the goal is to get tourist into Sidney. For more information about the #RiverwayGiveaway, visit .

• 2019 capital projects within the parks and recreation department. He gave the board the same presentation given to council on May 6.

The inclusive community playground that accommodates children with special needs at Geib Pavilion in Tawawa Park is projected to be installed in August, Gaier said. The initial estimated cost of the project was $160,000, but with the addition of some other features, the goal was increased to $180,000. He said the initial goal was met, and there is hope the full amount will be met, as some donations are yet to come in.

The play structure at Roadside Park is set to be replaced this year. Each year, one to two structures are replaced, Gaier said. Although the one at Roadside Park is 20 years old, he said it is not the oldest, but is in the worst shape. It will cost $28,000 to replace the structure.

The light poles at Veteran’s Memorial Field, which were originally erected in the 1950s or 1960s, Gaier said, need replaced. He said they are well past due for replacement with several cracks and holes from woodpeckers. Gaier said they are going to try to get grant funds to purchase metal poles instead of wooden replacements.

The fencing at Knoop Field will be replaced this year. The project will be completed likely at the end of the summer season, Gaier said, as baseball season is already underway. It will cost about $32,000 for new fencing.

The sub-structure under the Ross Covered Bridge is scheduled to be painted, likely in August or September.

Fourteen windows will be replaced this year as part of the Senior Center window replacement program that was enacted in 2015. This year’s replacement will cost $4,900. Next year, he said, there are only eight remaining windows to be replaced out of the original total of 110.

Finally, another mausoleum will be added at Graceland Cemetery to the north of existing unit, located close to County Road 25A.

• Free day at the water park. He discussed with board members about recommending for City Council to not offer a “free day” at the Sidney Water Park (SWP), which council discussed during its March 4 workshop session.

• Adjustments at SWP due the reduced number of lifeguard at the public pool this summer. Gaier suggested closing the baby pool. The zero entry level at the intermediate pool will still allow a location for younger children to play, he said.

He also recommended cancelling the free swimming classes, and honor only the pool parties that have been reserved as of Monday. He said there are six evening pool party rentals and three organizations scheduled at the pool several mornings this summer.

The board agreed with Gaier about his recommendations for the SWP. He presented his recommendations later that evening during the Sidney City Council May 6 meeting. City Council was in agreement with Gaier about adjustments for the water park and no free day to SWP.

During the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting, Brian Hastings, representative of Tawawa Park Trail Riders, gave the board an update on his group’s work. The group has been constructing mountain bike trails and extending some of the existing trails in Tawawa Park over the last couple of years.

They are still working on the trail at Brookside Park they hoped to have finished by the end of spring, he said. The weather had slowed their progress, he noted. A motorcyclist had been on the path and tore up the trail, Hastings said. The park ranger is aware of the issue and will be keeping an eye out, he said. Jannides suggested installing signs informing the public motor vehicles are prohibited. Gaier said there are some signs up and reminded the board that motor operated vehicle are already not allowed on the trails.

Hastings said Tawawa Park Trail Riders hope to attract more cyclists to get involved. He noted that group rides will be held on the first and third Saturdays of the month.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.