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Auction nets over $24K for Salem parks commission

SALEM — The Parks Commission netted $24,377 from the city’s recent auction of no longer used parks department equipment, with Parks Director Shane Franks suggesting buying another mower with the money.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Commission Chair John Panezott said.

Franks said he wanted to get the department on a mower rotation, swapping the oldest mower for a new one every two years. The department currently has three mowers, but Parks Foreman Jim Grimm said having a fourth mower would be ideal. Historically, the parks department mowers log thousands of hours of use over what’s recommended, reducing the trade-in value.

Franks pointed out the utility department and service department both have rotations for vehicles and equipment and the parks department should be doing it, too.

He just wanted to run the idea before the commission before going any further.

He did say part of the auction money was used to purchase a new trailer at Route 45 Trailer Sales & Service for $2,025. One of the old trailers had been sold at the auction.

In other business, Franks talked about a presentation he saw, along with Panezott, Grimm, city Auditor Betty Brothers and Recreation Supervisor Amber Smith regarding FoundationSearch, a company that can help an organization focus on foundations which are more likely to give money to that particular organization, such as the Salem Parks Department. He was told there are a ton of foundations out there who want to give money to causes.

Franks said there is a cost to it, which they could use the money from the auction to cover the fee. A one-year FoundationSearch membership costs $4,995. The membership includes free weekly webinars on the steps to create an effective Letter of Inquiry and maximum funding appeals, how to use FoundationSearch and how to keep track of prospects.

Commission member Lori Colian asked if the company was writing the grants after seeing the price, but was told no.

When asked by commission Vice Chair Lucille Karnofel if the company had any testimonials from other cities who used them, Franks said the company won’t give out that information, prompting Karnofel to comment, “that’s a red flag to me.”

She was very skeptical of the whole thing, asking how Franks heard about the company and then learning the company contacted him.

“I know it sounds expensive, but if we get one grant, that may more than pay for one year,” Panezott said.

Karnofel agreed that one grant would pay for the membership, but she had also noted earlier in the conversation that there were no guarantees. Franks said he was 50/50 concerning the idea, but was leaning toward it and wanted both Karnofel and Colian to see the presentation before deciding. Both agreed they would see the video presentation.

During his report, Grimm talked about installing the new fountain at the duck pond at Waterworth Memorial Park. He also touched on work on the Swings-N-Things playground, equipment repairs and installation of a homer fence at Headland Field and removal of a fence at Galchick Field.

Panezott talked about the excellent job being done by the maintenance crew and the comments he receives about how good the parks look.

“That fountain looks beautiful. What a great addition to that pond,” Karnofel said.

Smith talked about the movie nights at the band shell at Waterworth Memorial Park. Up next at 9 p.m. Aug. 14 is “Adventures of Rufus: The Fantastic Pet.” The popular classic “The Wizard of Oz” will be shown at 8:45 p.m. Aug. 28.

Fall softball games for girls begin Aug. 16 and end Sept. 24, with one U8 team and two U12 teams signed up.

The next parks commission meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 25.

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