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Salem Parks panel backs becoming Bee City USA

SALEM — City council’s Parks Committee approved forwarding resolutions to establish Salem as a Bee City USA and seek a grant to update Centennial Park lighting.

The committee chaired by Councilman Dennis Plegge met Tuesday night in council chambers at city hall, with Councilmen Steve Faber and Ron Zellers also present as committee members.

Mayor John Berlin, Parks Director Shane Franks, Councilman Sal Salvino and city Service/Safety Director Joe Cappuzzello also attended the brief meeting.

Both resolutions will be sent to city council for action. The city Parks Commission, which is responsible for operating city parks, already gave its approval.

The parks department wants to apply for a grant of up to $10,000 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks program to upgrade all lighting at Centennial Park to LED. Franks said previously the switch will save the department money in the long run besides making the lighting brighter.

Last spring the department used a NatureWorks grant to upgrade the restrooms near the duck pond at Waterworth Memorial Park.

If secured, the grant will cover at least 75 percent of the lighting project cost, with 25 percent covered by the parks department.

The council committee also agreed to recommend allowing the city of Salem to become a Bee City USA, with the parks department designated as the sponsor. The parks department has agreed to pay the annual $200 membership fee.

The idea behind Bee City USA is to educate the public about the importance of bees to the food everyone consumes and how to plant a pollinator garden where bees can pollinate the plants.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Faber said.

According to Plegge, the designation will allow signs to be posted and for the city to post a link to the Bee City USA website. He said this is not about bringing bee hives into Salem.

“We’re going to try to educate people on pollination,” Franks said.

Plegge talked about some of the facts he read about Bee City USA and about bees and how critical they are to the food supply.

“We need to be friendly to the bees,” he said.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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