Parks board: Feeding ducks fertilizes algae

The Salem Parks Commission Wednesday responded to complaints regarding the appearance of the duck pond at Waterworth Memorial Park.

Chairman John Panezott said that a member of the Beautification Committee brought to his attention critical comments made on a social media website regarding the amount of green algae and water fowl feces at the pond.

Panezott said he and Parks Supervisor Jim Grimm researched the issue, including contacting Columbiana County Water and Soil Conservation, and found that the green algae is caused by nitrogen that is created from fertilizer, which the ducks create in large amounts. Grimm said there is a detergent-like fluid that can be added to the pond, but not until fall due to water temperatures.

Grimm also said that his department runs a sweeper around the pond to clear away the feces at least three times a week and upwards of twice a day.

Panezott noted that as long as the ducks and geese are being feed, they will become residents of the pond.

“As long as people want to feed the ducks, see the ducks around, we’ll be putting up with green water every once in a while,” he said.

Panezott encouraged anyone with complaints about the parks to contact a commission member or attend the commission’s public meeting the last Wednesday of each month, noting that the commission would not have been aware of the complaint if someone had not told him about it.

In related news, the commission agreed to consider seeking funding, possibly from the Salem Community Foundation, to install a windmill aeration system at the pond. O’Brock Windmill of North Benton provided an estimate of $6,303 for a 33-foot tower, but the cost did not include drilling of a well or a crane rental to erect the tower.

Grimm requested additional time to evaluate the amount of additional costs and the feasibility of pumping water from a nearby brook instead of drilling a well to circulate the water.

Also at the meeting the commission discussed resurfacing the basketball and tennis courts at Centennial Park. Parks Director Steve Faber said that Vasco Asphalt of Massillon, which completed the project the last time it was done approximately 10 years ago, estimated a cost of $16,000 to $17,000 for the tennis courts and $30,000 for the basketball. Commissioner Terry Hoopes, who also spoke with the company, said that the company suggested the courts be resurfaced every six to seven years for optimal performance and appearance.

Hoopes emphasized that the courts are safe for use, but that they will continue to get worse if not addressed. Currently the high school tennis teams use the courts. There are also basketball tournaments held on the basketball courts.

Faber said that the commission can request capital improvement funds when the city Finance Committee establishes the city budget this winter.

No action was taken at the meeting so that the issue can be researched more in depth.

Additionally the commission granted approval for food vendors to participate in Eyes for Olivia’s upcoming CRBF Scrabble Fun Walk and Carnival for a Cure at Waterworth Memorial Park; and for local Boy Scout Noah Richardson to complete an Eagle Scout project in which he will place three stones in honor of service men and women near the band shell.