SIDNEY — The Sidney Recreation Board discussed the need for seasonal employees and also connecting the Canal Feeder Trail, among other parks projects during its May 2 meeting.
Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier, according to meeting minutes, began the meeting speaking about the need for more 2022 seasonal employee staff members. Gaier explained seasonal applications in the parks and recreation department are very low this year, even with increasing the pay offered, still haven’t received many applications.
Recreation Specialist Jennie Rogers said the Sidney Waterpark concession stand had only received one application, as of the time of the meeting. With that the concession stand at the Waterpark will not open for the 2022 season. SwimSafe Pool Management, the company contracted to run pool operations, will sell drinks and some snacks in the guardhouse for patrons, she said.
Parks maintenance has a lot of retired Honda workers for this summer, with most of them only wanting to work two to three days per week, the minutes said. It was noted long-term seasonal employee, Jim Daniels, who took care of Tawawa Park, has resigned. Currently, parks maintenance is seeking an employee to fill that position.
Two more people are also needed for Graceland Cemetery maintenance. Applications are currently being reviewed for these positions.
The Sidney Summer Recreation Clinics/Summer Food Program has only received four applications, Rogers noted. Despite the shortage of staff, a full summer clinic and food program will still be conducted. There will be 12 sites in operation.
Board member Ed Thomas offered an idea for staffing next summer based upon his previous position at the YMCA, He said they uses a company called ICCP (International Camp Councilor Program). ICCP an international program that seeks international employees to come to the United States for work. Gaier said, the parks department will check into it for next summer.
In other business regarding the Urban Trail Study, currently Choice One Engineering is working on a concept to connect the Canal Feeder Trail to the downtown area as well as Custenborder Fields and Tawawa Park. The parks department received the first rough proposal on April 29; the proposal is being reviewed and a cost estimate will be established. The minutes said Jeff Raible, president of the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and Sidney Visitors Bureau, wrote a grant to the Monarch Legacy and received $13,300 to cover part of this study. The total cost of the study is $28,800.
Also during the meeting, Gaier announced OHM Advisors, of Columbus, has been chosen to work on the city of Sidney’s parks master plan. The last complete master plan was complete in 2000. In 2009 there was some updates done to the plan, but nothing has been done since that time.
OHM Advisors also works with Pro Consulting out of Indianapolis. OHM was chosen be the steering committee. The meeting minutes said OHM Advisors have done work with numerous cities up and down Interstate 75 near the Sidney/Shelby County community, and are very familiar with what is taking place in and around this area. The budget has been set at $75,000 for the project.
The firm plans to do community meetings, surveys, social media post, etc., to see what Sidney needs and or would like to see for its parks. Bench marking will also be completed to see how Sidney compares to other communities, the minutes said.
Next, Gaier provided updated on the following capital project:
• Pickle Ball Courts: Staff is currently looking over plans for the courts to be put in; bids for the project will go out in June. It will be bid out as four courts with an alternate of six courts, depending on the final cost. The courts will be located at Custenborder Fields, at the north end of the old Peewee Football fields.
• Tawawa Park entrance sign: The city of Sidney has received the check from the donor for the entrance sign that will be replaced. Currently waiting on the sign and mason work to be contracted.
• Canal Feeder Trail: The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has approved the current plans. Currently working with the legal department at ODOT and Ohio Department of Natural Resources on the language and terms. This project is estimated to be .9 miles that will run under the interstate bridge to Kuther Road. Shelby County Commissioners are working on getting the project to Miami County.
Near the end of the meeting, Thomas asked if it was possible to delay the Wagner Glade modular play structure until after the parks master plan is complete. Gaier said the purchase order for the project has already been written and the play structure is in production.
Board Chair Tim Bickel thanked the parks staff for all they have been doing to get through the staffing shortage.
The next Recreation Board meeting is set for June 6, 2022.