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Salem parks director: Be respectful of others

SALEM — Be respectful of other park users by following the rules in place — that’s what Salem Parks Director Shane Franks said he wants the community to keep in mind.

Plus, clean up after pets, keep dogs on leashes when not inside the fenced dog park area, don’t feed the water fowl and don’t fish wildlife out of the pond or other waterways in the parks. Use the various facilities for their intended use, meaning no skateboards or bikes on the tennis courts, no kids climbing all over the nets or the new fitness equipment and no cussing.

Franks delivered his message to the community during the city Parks Commission meeting held in pavilion 2 at Centennial Park Wednesday night.

He explained he’s been hearing about various minor infractions and said the behavior is disrespectful to other guests in the parks. He was told someone set up a picnic/party near the new fitness zone when people we’re trying to work out. He heard kids have been hanging all over the new equipment that is meant for teens and adults 14 and up. He even heard people are catching turtles out of the duck pond with nets and that’s not allowed.

“I’m just asking the community to show some respect for our park rules and make an effort to follow them,” he said.

Franks also urged people who witness some of these infractions to not be afraid to call the police. There may be a pattern of activity that could be stopped. If some of these minor violations keep getting repeated, the violators could be banned from the park, but the park district and police need the community’s help to report incidents.

“Salem has a very large park district. That’s a lot to cover,” he said.

In other business, commission member Lori Colian asked about the duck pond situation regarding the geese. Both Franks and Parks Foreman Jim Grimm said the geese population is definitely down since they put up a small fence around the pond and they used some harassment techniques, but some geese are still there and will probably always be there. Signs have been installed advising against feeding the ducks and geese.

“I think what we’ve done so far has been pretty effective,” Franks said.

He said there isn’t much more they can do at this point. He was told that February is the good time to try the harassment techniques again to discourage the geese from hanging around, but said “we’ll see what the winter brings.”

Grimm reported what his crew has been doing the past month, including cleaning, scraping, sanding and painting the pool, using paint purchased by the Salem Community Foundation. A home run fence was installed at Lions Field at Waterworth Memorial Park, also courtesy of the Salem Community Foundation.

Grimm said the new pool color, blue, looks good. He also talked about general maintenance, lining two football fields at Waterworth Memorial Park for youth football and caring for the baseball fields for fall league at Kelley Park.

Compost bins were built for the prairie garden at Waterworth Memorial Park, but he asked that people not throw their trash in there. Trash containers are available for trash.

Recreation Supervisor Amber Smith reported that six families attended the showing of Toy Story 4 on Aug. 28 at the band shell. She also gave details on two upcoming events, the Treasure Hunt at 11 a.m. Saturday at Centennial Park co-sponsored by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwood Realty Services and the drive-thru Trail of Treats planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at Waterworth Memorial Park.

The Treasure Hunt is broken into three age groups: children under 5, at 11 a.m. in the area between the playground and Pavilion 7 off of Maple Street; ages 5-7, at 11:15 a.m., in the outfield of both baseball fields off of Maple Street; and ages 8-10, at 11:30 p.m., the hillside off of East Pershing Street. Masks must be worn and social distancing will be observed.

The next parks commission meeting will be 5 p.m. Oct. 28, but the location is yet to be determined. Commission members all agreed the meetings need to be moved inside, either by attempting social distancing at the park office on Oak Street or using council chambers at city hall. The location will be announced at a later date.

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