Superintendent discusses flooring issue and possible skate park with board

By Melanie Williamson

Treasurer Search: Treasurer Suzanne Wilson has announced she will be retiring, but she has not said when exactly, so the board is collecting information on the process and timeline for finding a new treasurer when it is needed. Doug Crooks, superintendent of North Point E.S.C. addressed the board concerning the services North Point can provide for their treasurer search.

Crooks shared that because Vermilion is already a client of North Point, they offer their search services at no charge. Typically, these services would cost between $8,000 and $12,000. Their services include posting the position, scheduling all interviews, working with the board to create interview questions, contacting those not getting the position to let them know, communicating with local media, and answering any questions along the way. He stated that they would do as much or as little as the board wants. Responding to questions from the board, Crooks shared that the total process including having overlap time for the new treasurer to work with the former treasurer takes roughly four months.

Flooring in VES: Superintendent Pempin updated the board on the flooring in the kitchen of the elementary school.  They have been having issues going back to when the floor was installed. According to Pempin, they have had several companies out to try to clean the floor with no success. They have been in contact with the builder that installed the floor, and he is coming out to see it. Pempin went on to say, the problems have been well-documented, and there is no doubt it is the fault of the builder. The floor will need to be replaced this summer, and it will be at the expense of the builder.

Skateboard park: At a recent parks board meeting, Pempin shared that he was approached by parks supervisor Dana Corogin asking if the district would be willing to donate some land for a new city skate park.  The current skate park is in very poor condition, and the conclusion has been made that the prefab equipment they originally bought for the skate park was low quality. According to Pempin, the city is looking at some possible grants to build a concrete, state-of-the-art skateboard park.

Pempin stated that he saw photos of the type of skate park they are looking at building, and he was very impressed. He went on to say if the park they showed him became a reality, it would be a significant draw for the entire community.  It could be used for competitions and bring more people into the community, which is a benefit. According to Pempin, the primary grant they are looking at would include professional skateboarder Tony Hawk coming to Vermilion, which would also bring people and positive attention.

He also shared that he spoke with several students about the idea of a new skate park and received a very positive response. He went on to say skate parks are sometimes seen as negative, but that is just not true. Further, the perception that the kids that use skate parks are troublemakers is not correct. Board member Sara Stepp agreed with him and said giving kids a place to skate keeps them off the curbs.

Pempin stated that the entire project is in the very preliminary stages, but they are looking at possibly the property west of Sailorway Middle School. Although that property is unusable for building, it would be acceptable for this type of park. After several questions from board members, Pempin clarified that the liability and maintenance would be the city’s responsibility. It was also brought up that there are a couple of school teams that use part of the field for practice, so they would have to look at what other options there are first. They would also have to discuss parking.

Pempin shared that if the city can move forward with this project and the district is already moving forward on fixing the tennis courts, his vision is that they could add lighting to the tennis courts, put in a small parking lot and some bocce ball courts west of the tennis and basketball courts and make that entire area a fun and attractive space open to the community.

After much discussion and many questions were brought up, the board said they were okay with Pempin joining the committee being formed by the parks board to explore the options for a new skate park.

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