By Karen Cornelius
The Vermilion Parks and Recreation Board met on Tuesday, January 16. Members elected Terry Parker the chairman for 2018 and Jon Logue the vice-chairman. The board discussed their capital levy budget, city pool problems, and repairs to the existing skate park as well as a new skate park committee. The following are briefs taken from the board minutes:
Corvette Show parking: There was one community event group use permit from the Lake Shore Corvettes for the Vermilion Corvette Show for July 7 at Victory Park and the Village Greens from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. While Parks board approved the use permit there was a modification by allowing the use of Victory Park but not giving approval for parking on the Village Greens unless they heard back from Ann DiCarlo on parking adjustments. Board members questioned the necessity for parking on the grass at the Village Greens especially with the Grand Division Parking Lot available now. There was concern for the board’s investment in the Village Greens and the new trees. It was suggested the show could use Grand Division and also the old Fulper lot on Grand and Liberty or go south of the tracks to Ohio. They will wait to hear from the show’s coordinators.
Capital levy review/Showse Lighting Project: The board reviewed the status of the current capital levy. The latest statement shows there is just over $151,000 unencumbered in the fund. The three most immediate needs are a new mower for the department, approximately $12,000; the Showse Lighting Project at $54,134.21; and the city pool deck replacement at $25,000. The cost to bury underground utilities, the transformer, and remove unwanted light poles and fixtures, and new lighting for the tennis courts would be the $54,134.21. It was agreed this would be a great improvement to the park. The board moved to approve this project not to exceed $55,000. They decided to table the city pool repairs until they investigate other problems. According to the service director, Tony Valerius, the pool was leaking about two inches of water per day. A pressure test on the lines will be performed at $750 to see where the leak is coming from. They will also have to check the bottom of the pool.
Chairman Parker added that Parks pays toward the school ballfields about $45,000 annually through 2020. This year they paid $49,350 but the amount goes down until the last year. With the assumptions discussed, the total plan would be $126,132 which leaves about $25,000 for other miscellaneous. In 2017, they spent $161,000 from the Parks Capital Levy.
Skate park improvements/new committee: Parks supervisor Dana Corogin stated that they need to start discussions on the public restrooms for the coming season. She also reported the skate park committee met and the construction crew that is planning the improvements for the existing skate park have been working hard on putting materials together. They will start the project as soon as the weather breaks. She looked into getting the skate park resurfaced for about $13,000, but she thought the committee would rather use this money for a new skate park. The park is in decent shape except for some cracks. She further reported the new committee will meet on February 1 consisting of Dennis Brudney, Brian Holmes, Phil Pempin, Patty Kishman, Reed Hettel, Dan Overfield, and herself. A presentation will be made for the Vermilion Local School Board and the Parks Board in a couple of months. Corogin also thanked Tim Costello for his amazing job resurfacing the ice rink every day to give it a professional look.
The board allocated up to $3,000 for the parks supervisor to use for equipment and beautification expenses if necessary in between meetings.
Wakefield House property: Member Logue reported they are still putting together a committee for the former museum property and if things go according to plan, they should have some dollars from different sources by summer, perhaps enough to start demolition. If they do, they will need to address the restroom situation there. He stated the committee is starting to investigate some different ideas on temporary restrooms. The idea is to have some sort of beach level restroom in addition to anything new on top of the hill that they build.
Clarion status unclear: Clarion is an area off Park Drive in the Vermilion Lagoons which the Port Authority maintains with the bulkhead and by cutting the grass and paying for trash pickup. The Port Authority is asking Parks Board to mow the grass at Clarion if this is a park. Port Authority thought it was more of a park than just for the boaters. Chairman Parker thought Clarion was not recognized as a city park officially and the service director agreed that it is not a park. Others including Corogin thought it was a park. The service director will look into this to clear the confusion, but felt it was common city property.
Parks board schedule: Parks board will meet again on February 20 at 7 p.m. at the municipal court complex on Decatur Street.