Volunteers sought to serve Music in the Park

SALEM – Music lovers who want to volunteer their time to keep the bands playing at Waterworth Memorial Park are being asked to submit a letter of interest to Salem Parks Commission Chairman John Panezott.

Longtime Music in the Park coordinator Jack Yarnell was honored recently during the last performance of the Summer Concert Series for this year. He’s stepping away from the volunteer job he’s done the past 21 years, leaving a big hole that commission members said may need a team of volunteers to fill.

“We’re trying all that we can to find somebody to replace Jack,” Panezott said Wednesday night during the commission meeting.

Anyone interested in volunteering should send a letter to Panezott at the Salem Parks Commission, 785 E. State St., Salem, Ohio 44460. The free Summer Concert Series takes place in the band shell at Waterworth Memorial Park, relying on donations to cover the costs of the performers.

Parks Director Steve Faber said Yarnell did everything. He scheduled the groups, solicited funds, varied the schedule so it wasn’t the same every year, emceed the concerts and coordinated volunteers for the events which took place usually on Sunday evenings, with an occasional performance during the week. He said Yarnell raised an average of $12,000 to $14,000 per year to cover the costs.

Panezott said it’s a lot of work for one person. He’s been asking around trying to get some names of people who might want to become involved. He explained that Yarnell would solicit the donations and turn everything over to the Salem Community Foundation, which handled the financial end of the operation.

The Parks Commission had nothing to do with the funding or the operation, but contributed with behind-the-scenes work on the grounds and the venue to prepare for the concerts. Finding somebody to coordinate is going to be tough, Panezott said, praising Yarnell and the job he did over the years.

He said he would hate to see the concerts in the park disappear because it’s a nice program and usually well attended.

In other business, Councilman Clyde Brown, who serves on council’s Parks Committee, reported he hears a lot of praise for the parks and how they look, but he’s also received some complaints about dogs running loose in the parks and owners not cleaning up after their dogs while they’re walking them in the parks.

By city ordinance, dogs are prohibited from running loose and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them if they defecate on someone else’s property, including public sidewalks or in the parks. A person who does not clean up after their dog can be charged with a minor misdemeanor. People who let their dogs run loose can be charged with a misdemeanor.

Faber said they would need more information about the dogs running loose since they’re not called when the dogs are seen. The police department takes numerous calls on loose dogs and barking dogs. Faber noted that Parks Foreman Jim Grimm recently had a confrontation with a dog owner when he asked them to clean up after their dog. In Salem and many communities, it’s the law.

Brown said he didn’t know how to solve the problem, commenting that maybe someday they’ll have to ban dogs from the parks. Panezott said he gets calls about the geese, too.

Faber reported the pool at Centennial Park closed last Sunday, in coordination with the opening of school in Salem, and the city lake will close at the end of September. Another bass fishing tournament will be held on Sept. 22 at the lake located on Gamble Road, with the cost $20. Contestants can register by calling 330-332-5512.

Recreation Supervisor Shane Franks reported six teams had signed up for the ASA-sanctioned Church League Slow Pitch Softball Tournament set for Sept. 7 at Kelley Park. Teams must be a member of an organized church league and must register by Aug. 31. The cost is $150 per team.

Grimm reported his crew has continued to work on general maintenance to keep the parks looking good, setting up all the obstacles for the recent Race for the ROC and the opening cross country meet.