City Parks Commission Chairman John Panezott suggested maybe the parks should pay part of the lifeguard certification fees next year to make sure a shortage of lifeguards doesn't happen again.
Panezott voiced the idea during the Parks Commission meeting Wednesday after Parks Director Steve Faber reported the pool at Centennial Park was now open with plenty of lifeguards.
At last month's meeting, he reported the pool would not be opening on time because they didn't have enough lifeguards lined up. Normally, the pool follows the city schools schedule and opens after school is finished.
The last day of school was May 31, but the pool wasn't able to open until June 13 this year. At the time, Faber said they only had one lifeguard signed up and they needed at least four to cover the pool hours, but wanted at least eight lifeguards on staff. He put out a plea through the Salem News for certified lifeguards and received plenty of interest.
He explained this year wasn't a typical year because usually they have more carryover staff from the year before, but they had some who were in their later years of college who didn't come back and some who moved from the area.
Commission member Terry Hoopes said maybe getting the word out quicker next year would help.
Most of the rest of the meeting dealt with reports about the success of some recent events at the parks and what a good job the maintenance staff was doing at keeping the parks looking good. Panezott said he received some good comments about how well-kept the parks appear and wanted the information passed on to the workers.
Faber talked about the success of the recent 5K obstacle Race for the ROC held earlier this month at Waterworth Memorial Park, the classic car show held last Friday at Centennial Park during the Salem Super Cruise and the programs operated by the Salem Public Library.
The parks staff worked closely with organizers of the Race for the ROC, which will benefit the youth center on South Lundy Avenue. Parks Foreman Jim Grimm and his staff helped set up the obstacles, which included a slip-n-slide, a mud pit and five other challenges for participants besides the run.
"The only complaint I heard was the mud pit wasn't muddy enough," Hoopes said.
He didn't participate in the race, but visited each of the obstacle points during the race and said people of all shapes, sizes and ages took part. He also said he was impressed by the camaraderie displayed by a group of women who were helping others with the obstacles in a type of "no woman left behind" kind of way.
He said he received a lot of positive comments about the park throughout the event and while he was hanging out by the finish line.
"At the end, everyone was smiling," Hoopes said.
Faber said he hopes somebody does it again next year.
He said the recent car show attracted 90 vintage vehicles, with an estimated 300 people coming through. The free show was a joint effort of the city Parks and Recreation Department, the Tri-State Antique Car Club and the Salem Area Visiting Nurse Association. The visiting nurses handled the food and gave away 200 hot dogs and ran out of baked beans. Faber said they could not have asked for better weather.
Another car show hosted by the three entities will be held July 27 at Centennial Park.
Faber also said most of the programs for Go Green at the Park presented by the Salem Public Library were successful. They've also been getting good reports on the sing-a-long nights the library has been hosting at the band shell at Waterworth Memorial Park.
In other business, he reported the city lake was open and having a good season, which was noted during the approval of $6,638 worth of expenditures for the month as of Wednesday. Hoopes asked about an increase in the bill for JWS Bait, which was $709. Faber said the number was up because the numbers are up for users at the lake, which is a good thing.
Faber said the summer basketball league was running smoothly and said they weren't experiencing too many bumps in the road since former recreation supervisor Dolores Rogucki retired last month. Hoopes said that's a testament to how well she kept things in order.
The commission entered into executive session near the end of the meeting for personnel matters, but said no action would be taken. No replacement has been hired yet for Rogucki's position.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org