Council hears recap of summer rec programs


By Sheryl Roadcap - sroadcap@sidneydailynews.com



SIDNEY — The final results of the city of Sidney’s summer recreation and food programs were presented to Sidney City Council during its Tuesday evening workshop session.

Sidney Parks and Recreation Department Specialist Jennie Rogers provided City Council with an overview of the food programs, various recreation programs, and a summary of the Sidney Municipal Pool receipts.

The summer programs were offered from June 1 through Aug. 6, at 12 Sidney park sites. Heritage Manor Park, the new park located on Apache Drive, was a new site added this year. Rogers said this park site was “very well attended” and she was glad they added the location for kids to attend.

A total of 1,194 children participated in the 29 summer recreation clinics held this year. All recreation clinics were canceled last year due to the pandemic. In 2019, 1,209 youngsters participated in the summer clinics.

Rogers said attendance of the food program was down this year by 638 children compared to 2020. In 2021, there were 7,251,children in attendance in the food program; 7,889 children attended in 2020; 8,115 in 2019; 7,307 in 2018; and, 7,012 in 2017.

Wilson Health again prepared the hot meals for the Summer Lunch Program this year. The program was grant-funded from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Summer Food Service Program for Children.

This summer’s Backpack Program sent home 2,133 meals to feed area youth, which was also down from 2,268 last year. Every Friday, 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 that does not require refrigeration is packed and sent home, Rogers noted. Food is loaded into zip-lock bags, instead of actual “backpacks” to send home with the children.

Rogers thanked City Council for its continued support of the “awesome, worthwhile program for (the community’s) youth.” She also thanked Sidney Body CARSTAR, Buckeye Ford, Cargill, FISH of Shelby County and Emerson Climate for sponsoring this year’s backpack program.

Mayor Mike Barhorst questioned if COVID-19 affected the attendance numbers. Rogers said it may have a little, as she saw some children attending who were wearing masks.

The Sidney Water Park was open from June 5 to Aug. 8. Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier said the water park had a great turn out this year. Rogers expressed gratitude to the juvenile program for getting the pool ready to be operational at the beginning of the season.

The pool closed early 11 days and only twice for the entire day, due to weather, this year Rogers said. Last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the pool did not open at all. The pool made $14,059.54 more this year than in 2019.

When Gaier was asked why he thinks the numbers were up so much this year compared to 2019, and if the necessary, costly repairs to the city pool would be worth it, Gaier said he assumes attendance was up because the pool was closed in 2020. He told council they would need to look at the numbers over several years to see if attendance will continue to be up. Gaier admitted, although there were maybe 500 guests on a busy day in 2021, a busy day 15 years ago would have been closer to 1,000 guests at the pool.

The pool had 17 pool rentals booked this year, which is higher than the nine rentals booked in 2019.

The concession stand was profitable again this year with greater than typical earnings at $7,172.65, compared to 2019 when the stand earned $711.10.

By Sheryl Roadcap

sroadcap@sidneydailynews.com

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.