By Karen Cornelius
Now that the Vermilion Parks Levy for maintenance, operations, and improvements has been passed by voters in November, it is time to do some long-range planning and form a committee to help create a budget for the levy funds, according to part-time parks supervisor Dana Corogin. She addressed her list of repairs and her list of hopes and dreams to the Vermilion Parks and Recreation Board members meeting on Tuesday, November 21.
First on her list is hiring a full-time parks supervisor position that will need approval by city council. She said they need to visualize the entire community in what they want it to look like in terms of what the parks will offer them. According to the minutes, Corogin stated that under her long-range planning list they could create beautiful and unique parks that will attract new residents to Vermilion; sponsor park events; develop recreation and education programs for all ages; build first-class functional and aesthetically pleasing amenities using native sandstone when possible; work on the walk-ability and connectivity projects with Lorain and Huron; partner with the schools to create a wellness campus dedicated to first class education and fitness; develop a fabulous Parks and Recreation Department with public presence and online programming capabilities; hire two full-time parks employees and season help; as well as include a part-time parks consultant.
Included in her long list of dreams is also creating a functional and organized parks service garage with heat and water; offering leaf composting; creating a winter cutting garden and tree nursery; and even a community Fruit and Nut Orchard where people can pick fruit and nuts themselves for free. She acknowledged they are all dreams but she thought they are all possible within the next 20 years. By setting up a budget and working together to manage it well, they can allow for some things to get repaired and move on. The levy fund for maintenance, operations, and improvements would have to be coordinated with the current capital improvements levy. They would need to figure out how they are going to interface the two and get the most value for the citizens as the two have different purposes.
Corogin said what she would like to see repaired is the beach cleaner; replacement of the community pool deck and removal of the diving board to add slides; and installation of a new gazebo roof in Victory Park and restoration of its Ohio historic marker. Also, she would like to replace the brick bulkhead and create a small brick patio and replace railroad ties with sandstone retaining walls at East Exchange Park. There they could also level the veterans’ bricks. In Showse Park, complete the lighting project and revetment repairs. Grading the ice skating rink at the west end at Devon and upgrading the lighting there could be an improvement. She would also like to purchase a new lawnmower for spring around $8,000.
There’s more. Corogin said the volleyball courts, the skate park, the baseball diamonds, the pickle ball courts, and the dog park are all things to think about, too. She has been having meetings with Vermilion Local Schools Superintendent Phil Pempin and they do have property and would like to attract senior citizens, and have activities for all ages. She said he would even be willing to have a dog park on the school property if it fit in behind the skate park with a walking trail around it. She also spoke with rec director Chad Kuhns about sports fields behind the schools in case they lose the two fields located behind South Street and Vermilion Intermediate. She said there is some equipment like climbing walls and slides still left behind the former South Street School which could be moved to one of the parks.
Parks chair Elizabeth Wakefield agreed they need to put a plan together and be proactive about the direction they are going and prioritize what has to be done first and be responsible for every dollar that goes out.The new levy fund money will not be available until 2019 so they can use 2018 as the year to plan. Wakefield said she is hoping they can get a group together who can meet prior to Christmas to put some time and effort into planning.
Parks Board will meet again on Tuesday, December 19, at 7 p.m. at the municipal complex on Decatur Street.