The city Parks Commission submitted two lists of possible projects for city council members to consider funding with contingency money, including a dog park area at Waterworth Memorial Park and a windmill near the duck pond.
"This is a good start," city Councilwoman Cyndy Baronzzi Dickey said.
Dickey chairs the Parks Committee of city council and regularly attends Parks Commission meetings. At the last meeting, she advised commissioners and park staff to think about projects in the parks that could be funded with the contingency money.
Council agreed last month to place $69,035 from the $1.3 million in shale gas lease money into a contingency fund that council members can use for small projects to benefit their constituents, with a limit of up to $10,000 per council member per project or a bigger project if two or more council members join forces.
One of the suggestions Dickey made was for park personnel to get cost estimates for installing a dog park area at one of the city's parks.
Recreation Supervisor Shane Franks and Parks Foreman Jim Grimm both prepared lists, with some cost estimates provided. According to the lists, a dog park at the northeast end of Waterworth Memorial Park near the Lions ball field would cost an estimated $17,000 to $22,000 for fencing and gates to contain the dogs.
Another project that the commission had already discussed a couple of times as a means to pump fresh water into the duck pond was a proposal for a windmill with an aeration system. The cost was estimated at $8,550 to $10,000.
Other projects and cost estimates, when provided, included: playground mulch at Waterworth Memorial, Centennial and Mullins parks, $10,802; Centennial circle renovation, with electricity, water feature and landscaping, $7,000; recementing concession stand patio area at Waterworth, $700; black top area east of duck pond; construction of Mullins Park pavilion with restrooms and running water; construction of pavilion at city lake; resurfacing/repainting basketball courts at Centennial, $10,000; Salem Parks and Recreation website; resurface tennis courts at Waterworth, $150,000; repair or replace boats at city lake, $1,000 each; remodel bathrooms at city lake, $15,000; and remodel bathrooms at Waterworth, upwards of $50,000.
Commission Vice Chairman Terry Hoopes noted that a project in the parks would benefit everybody, adding that from the contingency fund, "anything we get would be wonderful."
Dickey said she plans to provide copies of the lists to her fellow councilmen and speak to some of them to see if they would like to join with her for a park project. The parks rely solely on levy money, fees for rentals and fundraisers. No money comes from the general fund.
In other business, Grimm reported two trees came down at Waterworth on the north side of the pavilion off of Superior, doing no damage. He also reported his crew has been doing general maintenance at the parks, with Hoopes reporting some good comments he heard about how nice the parks look and how much people like the nature trail at Waterworth. He also heard from people who like the fishing at the city lake off of Gamble Road.
Franks talked about Salem Junior Baseball winding down, a softball tournament planned for this weekend and the success of the mens outdoor basketball league and a recent youth fishing clinic at the city lake.
He said he found the foot traffic at the recent arts and crafts in the park event last Saturday disappointing and said he's open to any suggestions for increasing the attendance at the craft events held throughout the year.
The park event was promoted in the Salem News and with flyers, but he was told he needs a Facebook page. He said he didn't think the crafters were blaming the parks department. He wants to find out if it's just the economy or something they need to do differently to increase attendance.
Parks Director Steve Faber said the turnout for the antique car show last Friday was good, with close to 200 cars participating. He said they had to rush to get the food out, which he said is an issue they plan to resolve for next year. The Salem Area Visiting Nurses and Tri-State Antique Car Club also hosted the event. The date for next year's car show will be June 20, 2014.
He also said the Salem Junior Mothers' Club is hosting a swim day at Centennial Park. The club will pay for the first 50 students who come to the pool on July 6.
He also offered thanks to an anonymous friend of the park who came in Saturday and worked on one of the park department's mowers, taking the old engine out and installing a new engine.