Officials say thanks for parks levy approval

City Parks Director Steve Faber and Parks Commission Chairman John Panezott both offered their thanks to the voters for approving the recent parks levy on the ballot.

“We certainly appreciate all the support we get from the electorate. Had we lost that levy, there would have been a big hole in the budget. We’re very grateful,” Faber said.

This time on the ballot, the commission asked not only for renewal of the 1-mill levy but for an additional .3 mills to bump up their income slightly to meet increased costs for operating the parks system, which includes Centennial, Waterworth Memorial, Kelley, Mullins, Eagleton Glen near the Teegarden covered bridge and recreation on the city lake or reservoir on Gamble Road.

Panezott thanked the community for passing the levy and remarked how the parks system depends on two levies to operate and wouldn’t be able to get by if the most recent one had failed.

The meeting kicked off with some people singing Faber’s praises on the job he does, including President of Council K. Bret Apple, the new city Treasurer-elect, who said “our parks have always been a pride of Salem.” He said he would like to think that it starts at the top, with city council, the commission and with Faber and the workers. He said Faber has done a fine job.

Apple has spent the last 10 years with council, first as a councilman and then as council president. He also served in the courts as a judge and is currently a prosecutor. In his experience, he said everyone working together always works better than when there is division.

“Steve should be pointed out for the good job that he does,” Apple said.

Salem resident Larry Bowersock said he agreed with Apple and said Faber has done a good job. Salem resident Joe Barcey worked at the Memorial Building last year while in school and said he really enjoyed working around Faber. Another Salem resident, Patty Colian, also attended the meeting.

Faber has been in the position of parks director for 25 years and said they all work hard to get the best value for the tax dollars provided by the people.

The commission entered into executive session behind closed doors for personnel at the end of the meeting, but said no action would be taken. The commission did the same during the meeting last month.

In other business, Faber advised the commission members he attached to their packet the three original proposals from Arrow Surface Engineering from 2015 for work on the tennis courts and two basketball courts at Centennial Park. Concerns have been raised at recent meetings over the current condition of the tennis courts, which have cracks and an area where the surface appears to have a hole in it. He said he included the proposals just to review what had been done. At the last meeting, commission member Lucille Karnofel questioned what they had approved and what work the company was supposed to be doing. The commission has been waiting for a determination on what repairs need done and what those repairs would cost.

“Nobody has gotten back to you?” Panezott asked Faber.

Faber said Karnofel was going to follow up on that. Karnofel then spoke up and apologized, saying she did not get to that.

Under the report for park foreman, Faber submitted a list of dead and/or dangerous trees to the commission and said they’ll work to get them down this winter. The list included 21 trees, with 12 trees at Centennial and nine trees at Waterworth Memorial Park. He also reported all restrooms have been winterized and closed for the season, the crew has been working on leaf control and grinding up more than they’ve been picking up. They’ve also been working on equipment repairs and putting some equipment away for the winter.

Recreation Supervisor Shane Franks talked about the great response for the Trail of Treats event last month, with attendance of 250 to 300 people and 33 different stations where children could get candy. He thanked everybody who came out and participated. He also reported fall softball league was finished and mentioned two upcoming Go Wild in the Park events. The Care and Feeding of Holiday Plants will be 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and the History of the Native American Indian in Columbiana County will be 2 p.m. Dec. 16. Both programs will take place at the Salem Public Library, the park’s partner for Go Wild in the Park programming.

While reviewing last month’s minutes, commission Vice Chairman Terry Hoopes asked whether a worker from the lake was going to be used for part-time work this fall. Faber said it was decided after last month’s meeting that he wasn’t needed.

The commission changed the December meeting to 5 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Memorial Building due to a conflict for one of the members. The commission normally meets the fourth Wednesday of the month.