Date and time: 5:00 PM, Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Present: Board members: Barbara Foster, Brian Duncan, Michael Nicolas. Also, Mayor Duane Roderick, Former Mayor Robert Shepherd, City Clerk Treasurer Susan Stoll, and Attica Main Street President Lexxi Spragg Haddock.
Location: Court Room, Attica City Building.
Meeting called to order at 5:08 PM.
Brian Duncan reported the hiring of all staff members for the public pool, concession stand, and Park Program Counselor positions, and that all applicants had been notified of the results. All those selected have accepted employment. The Board wishes it noted that it had an exceptional group of applicants and wishes there had been enough positions for all of them.
The usual screening checks will be conducted, and Susan Stoll said she will investigate the fingerprinting/background checks for the park program counselors.
The City has received a grant of $6,500 for replacing and upgrading bridges in the Arms Woods portion of Ravine Park from the Attica Community Foundation. This should increase safety and accessibility to these exceptional nature trails. The Board is very grateful and wishes to extend thanks to those Foundation members whose generosity made this grant possible.
The February 23/first special public meeting to gather ideas and suggestions for developing the next five-year park plan was briefly discussed. Mike Nicolas reported that several members of the public told him they felt they had not been able to present their suggestions or proposals.
To begin gathering information for a possible future community center, three board members visited the new YMCA Family Center in Lafayette, where the Director and senior staff members very graciously took the time to answer our questions and take us on a tour of the facility.
Although the Attica area is a much smaller community, the members were informed that a branch Y is a possibility. We were told the first step is surveying community needs, and that forming partnerships with other organizations and businesses is the key to making it work. The Lafayette Center leases space to their partners, including Indiana University Health, Greater Lafayette Commerce, Franciscan Health, Ivy Tech, Junior Achievement, and the YMCA. The operating budget is about 10% contributions, 45% program fees, and 45% member fees. We felt the fees were surprisingly reasonable.
(Not discussed in the meeting but learned after touring the YMCA/Lafayette facility: There is a playground, indoor sports facilities and extensive exercise rooms and equipment as well as preschool and daycare, including before-and-after school. There are extensive medical and rehabilitation programs and facilities including a branch hospital. There are also co-operative and co-location agreements with other organizations such as the schools, where, for instance, athletes have access to supplementary facilities and equipment that the schools would like to provide but for constraints of space, time and budget. The same goes for supplementary educational programs. It was pointed out that memberships or the simple availability of such a facility in the area can be an excellent tool for businesses for employee recruitment and retention. To lift directly from their written overview, it’s a place that can “…connect youth with adults who are willing and able to give them the structure and positive connections they need”. Although the project places special emphasis on children, youth, and young adults, we observed a lot of older adults using the facility. It seemed to also be a good place for getting together and socializing as much or as little as each person desired. In discussion afterwards, Board members recognized one advantage that such a community center would have for Attica area residents, is that, by partnering, it can be possible to have services that are needed and desired, such as local medical care, or an exercise and physical therapy facility when our current market cannot yet support a dedicated full-size stand-alone business, such as a commercial fitness center. For the Parks Department, some indoor space would help free our programs from being at the mercy of unpredictable weather and cold temperatures.)
Susan Stoll suggested adding signs informing the public that there is an upper entrance and parking for the Arms Woods Trails off Avenue Eight in the neighborhood to the north of the Arms Woods Trails.
There was discussion about what, if anything, should be done with the lagoon near the single picnic table and concrete lined stream channel in Ravine Park. Mr. Shepherd spoke against its drainage. He said it has been fed by a natural spring for over 100 years and the green plant growing in it is called duckweed. Barb Foster asked how the lagoon could possibly cause mosquito breeding when it was moving water. She said some more investigation should take place if this plan is to proceed.
While in Lafayette, board members Andy Smart, Barbara Foster and Mike Nicolas looked at newly installed playground equipment in McCall Park as well as the YMCA. Barbara Foster reported she price checked a parent-child swing with a vendor online and the cost was $1300.
Acting Board President Barbara Foster adjourned the meeting at 5:30 P.M., April 9, 2019.
The next regular meeting of the Parks Board will be in the in the court room of the Attica City Building at 5:00 P.M. Tuesday, April 9.
Submitted by Michael Nicolas, who is solely responsible for any errors and omissions.