SIDNEY — The city of Sidney’s summer recreation programs were a success, with an increase of children participating again this year in the food programs, despite a rainy start to the season.
Sidney Parks and Recreation Department Specialist Jennie Rogers presented Sidney City Council with an overview of the food programs, various recreation programs, and gave a summary of the Sidney Municipal Pool receipts at Tuesday evening’s workshop session.
The summer programs were offered from June 3 through Aug. 11, at 12 Sidney park sites. This year three additional sites were added at Julia Lamb, Orbison Park and the city’s service center.
Out of the 32 clinic offered, there were three new clinics available for youngsters to participate in, including “Frisbee Tic Tac Toe,” “Physical Bingo” and “Bocce Ball.” There were a total of 1,209 children who participated in this year’s clinics, which is down from the 1,304 youngsters that came out last year. The Fishing Derby and Pre-Fishing Derby, the most popular clinics among children, were canceled due to rain. Rescheduling the event in the future if canceled again was suggested. Rogers agreed and said they just need to coordinate with the instructor’s schedule.
She said attendance in the food program increased by 808 children since 2018. The program was grant-funded from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Summer Food Service Program for Children. She expressed gratitude to Wilson Health for continuing to prepare the hot meals for the Summer Lunch Program again this year.
This summer’s Backpack Program sent home 2,201 meals to feed area youth, which was up from 2,163 last year. Each weekend, each child was sent home with two meals in their backpacks for Saturday and Sunday, containing a protein, fruit and a grain. The ready-to-eat, non-perishable food, Rogers noted, is loaded into zip-lock bags, instead of actual “backpacks” to send home with the children.
Mayor Mike Barhorst asked if she noticed a preference between the cold or hot meals among the young people. Rogers said she thinks the children were just happy to get a meal.
Rogers thanked Sidney Body Carstar, Buckeye Ford, Cargill, FISH of Shelby County and Emerson Climate for sponsoring this year’s backpack program.
The pool closed early eight days and only once for the entire day, due to weather, this year Rogers said. Open from June 1 to Aug. 11, the pool made $5,836.90 less this year than than in 2018. This was in part due to only six pool rentals booked this year. The six bookings were already reserved before city staff realized there would be shortage of lifeguards. Rogers said she didn’t feel safe or comfortable with renting the pool out this year because of the lifeguard shortage. No swim lessons were held at the public pool this season, also due to the lifeguard shortage.
Rogers noted she is already taking proactive steps to recruit lifeguards for next season. She is working with the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA for lifeguard classes and financial sponsorship of swimming lessons, which is where swimming lessons were held this season instead of the public pool.
She extended a “special thank you to Sidney Fire and Emergency Services for certifying our lifeguards in CPR and AED training.”
The concession stand was profitable this year, with $711.10 earned this year compared to 2018 when the stand was in the negative $742.17.
She also thanked the Sidney City Council for sponsoring this year’s programs which included a total of 11,525 participants.
In other business, Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth shared there will not be a Zoning Board of Appeals or Planning Commission meeting this month as nothing is on the agenda. Also, City Manager Mark Cundiff reviewed City Council’s agenda items for the next 30 days.
Cundiff also reminded all and invited council members to be present at the Shelby County Bicentennial Guinness World Record attempt of opening a drink can simultaneously on Wednesday morning, Sept. 18.
Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan was absent Tuesday and was excused by council.
Council went into an executive session to consider the employment of public employee. No action was taken when council emerged from the session.
According to the City Clerk Kari Egbert, prior to adjournment, Mayor Mike Barhorst shared CSX had tendered an offer for the purchase of the former Big Four Passenger Station. CSX has appraised the property at $50,000. Despite the fact that the Sidney Big-Four Passenger Station Preservation Association is a 501(c)(3) organization, the railroad will only transfer ownership of the station to the city of Sidney. There has been conversation for some years, Egbert noted, about the desire to make the station property a “train park” where visitors could safely watch train traffic.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.