Salem Parks Department shows off new office on Oak Street

Salem Parks Director Shane Franks, left, gives a tour of the new Parks & Recreation Department office to Salem resident Loretta Price and Lisbon resident Wayne Herrod during an open house Wednesday. The office is located at 2222 Oak St. in Salem. (Salem News photos by Mary Ann Greier)

SALEM –Salem Parks Director Shane Franks, other parks personnel and members of the Salem Parks Commission welcomed a steady stream of visitors to the department’s new office space on Oak Street Wednesday.

The open house was their way of introducing the community to their new digs located at 2222 Oak St., just off of Southeast Boulevard, where a doctor’s office had been located previously.

A television mounted in the corner of the lobby displayed a slideshow of photographs featuring scenes from city parks and another display included brochures about Go Wild in the Park programs and an events schedule for the Salem Public Library, the parks department’s partner for Go Wild in the Park programming.

The office houses Franks, Recreation Supervisor Amber Smith and Administrative Assistant Jill Moore, along with department records and a roomful of sports equipment neatly shelved and stacked. Later this month, at 5 p.m. Jan. 23, the commission will hold its first monthly meeting at the new location.

Commission members include Chairman John Panezott, Vice Chairman Terry Hoopes and member Lucille Karnofel, who was recently re-appointed to a new three-year term. All three were on hand for the open house, along with Franks, Smith, Moore and Parks Foreman Jim Grimm. Visitors were treated to a tour of the offices, which includes the lobby area, front office, a handful of smaller officers, Franks’ office, a small conference room, storage room, restrooms and the equipment room.

Shelves that used to house medical records now serve as home to helmets, softballs and other sporting equipment for the Salem Parks & Recreation Department.

Not much had to be done to move in, with a new coat of paint and some photographs of nature placed on the walls. The furniture came from the old office location at the Salem Memorial Building and was owned by the Parks and Recreation Department.

All were happy with the move.

The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached at 330-271-8913, which is the new phone number for the parks department. Anyone who couldn’t attend the open house is welcome to come and see the new office and pick up some brochures.

The parks department moved from its longtime location at the Salem Memorial Building to the new building last month, completing a separation that started more than a year ago when the commission announced a split between parks department operations and Memorial Building operations. The two operations had been intertwined for a long time, with the parks director and the recreation supervisor working for both entities.

The commission said then that the plan was to find its own location and that’s what happened this fall. After a lot of discussion on the matter, the city bought the building for $95,000 with the parks department and city council splitting the cost. Council’s half came from the council contingency fund and the park department’s portion was being financed with a loan.

Recreation Supervisor Amber Smith, left, and Administrative Assistant Jill Moore look over some notes in their front office at the Salem Parks & Recreation Department’s new location. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

Department personnel and the commission oversee six parks, including Centennial where the pool and splash pad are located, Waterworth Memorial, Kelley off of Prospect Street, Mullins off of South Lincoln Avenue, the Salem Lake off of Gamble Road and Eagleton Glen, near the Teegarden covered bridge.