Summer concerts to continue at Waterworth Park

Summer concerts will live on this year at Waterworth Memorial Park, with a handful of community members splitting the duties once handled by Jack Yarnell, who retired last season.

“There will be a summer concert schedule,” Salem Parks Director Steve Faber said.

Faber discussed the summer concerts during the Salem Parks Commission meeting Wednesday night, with new commission member Lucille Karnofel in attendance, introduced and welcomed.

Yarnell had served as the unpaid volunteer Music in the Park coordinator for 21 years, doing mostly everything himself, including scheduling the groups, soliciting funds, emceeing the concerts and coordinating the volunteers for the concerts.

The free summer concert series takes place in the band shell at Waterworth Memorial Park, usually on Sunday nights, occasionally on Wednesday nights, with donations used to cover the costs of the performers.

The commission asked volunteers to step forward from the community last fall to take over the job, wanting to preserve what has become a popular outing for many on warm summer evenings.

Parks Commission Chairman John Panezott acted as facilitator to line up some core volunteers for the various duties. Faber said they’re still finalizing the schedule, with plans to add a few more Wednesday nights and a few Friday nights.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the group,” he said.

Faber said they’ll build on what was already in place. Both Panezott and commission Vice Chairman Terry Hoopes complimented the people who stepped up to keep the concerts going. The music will include some of the traditional big band sounds and varieties typical of the summer concert series and a few more vocal groups.

Faber said there’s some local talent that they want to get involved. The complete schedule will be announced at a later date.

In other business, Faber said he and Recreation Supervisor Shane Franks are finalizing plans to collaborate again with the Salem Public Library for some programming in the parks and possibly some at the Memorial Building. He said he was excited about the networking they’re building and just wanted to know they have the commission’s support. More information will be released at a later date.

Parks Foreman Jim Grimm announced this year’s spring plant exchange day will be from 9 a.m. to noon April 19 at the maintenance building at Waterworth Memorial Park near the duck pond. People should bring marked perennials and will receive one of their choice in exchange. Grimm said they usually receive 10 to 15 varieties, giving the parks 60 to 70 plants for planting.

He also reported that about 80 geranium plants are doing well in the greenhouse, located next to the maintenance building. Hanging baskets are also doing well, to be hung at the band shell.

Faber reported the Salem Shade Tree Commission asked if the parks wanted some trees. A list of about 29 trees was compiled, Some will be used to replace damaged trees, with determinations made on the best trees to place in certain areas. There will be no cost to the parks department.

Grimm said the maintenance staff has been working on spreading blacktop grindings on the nature trail and doing regular maintenance of the parks, getting anxious for spring. Hoopes asked about the pool and if there had been any damage from the ice and snow. Grimm said some downspouts were damaged, but they’ll be fixed. He also noticed some areas where the concrete was flaking up. He checked on some material they can use to coat it.

Faber said they’ll be looking at mid-April to open the city lake on Gamble Road. Hoopes asked when it was last stocked, with Faber saying it’s probably been five or six years. He said he would like to do it every year, but it comes down to dollars and cents. Panezott commented that the fish in there have been reproducing. Franks said he’s hoping to have a few more events at the lake this year, including fishing tournaments and a family fun day.

In giving his report, he said the girls softball, Salem Junior baseball and church leagues will be starting soon. About 70 girls signed up for softball, meaning they’ll have about seven teams. Karnofel asked why the parks don’t host more tournaments. Franks said they have the facilities to do different types of tournaments. One was held last year for the church league and an outside group used the fields for a large softball tournament last year. He said there didn’t seem to be a lot of interest from the local teams.

He reported that longtime umpire coordinator Paul Fennema, who scheduled the umpires for the girls softball league games, was stepping down. He was sorry to see him go.

The board members and Faber all talked about the loss of Fennema and their former commission member, Ken Schrom, who retired. Karnofel was appointed by Mayor John Berlin to serve Schrom’s unexpired term. Schrom became a commission member in June 1997. According to Faber, he remembered him and his wife out painting a shed at the city lake his first year. He said he did a lot of little things and helped “raise the bar” for commission members.

He said both Schrom and Fennema made a difference. Panezott said Schrom will be missed and offered thanks for his years of service.

The next meeting will be 5 p.m. April 23.