City of Delaware parks board may split into subcommittees


The city of Delaware’s parks and recreation advisory board is interested in splitting into subcommittees, the YMCA is seeking more support, and the parks staff wants better weather.

These were among the topics discussed at the board’s meeting on Feb. 16.

The idea of subcommittees has been discussed as a way for the board to take on a more active role.

“It has come up at several of these meetings that it is turning into updates, and because of the formality of the meeting, we don’t have a lot of time to sit and brainstorm,” said chairwoman Allyson Lash. “We want everybody involved and participating as much as possible, but we don’t want to keep adding more meetings to people’s schedules.”

The 10-member board has reached a consensus on splitting into two subcommittees — one would focus on parks and open spaces, the other would focus on recreation programs and special events. The subcommittees and combined board would swap meetings every other month.

The board will learn at its March meeting if the change is acceptable to the city and its charter. If it is, then the board will assign members to the two subcommittees.

Before the subcommittee talk, the board heard an update from Roger Hanafin, the youth, teen and family program director at the Delaware Community Center YMCA. Hanafin was asked how the board can help the YMCA.

“We are only as good as the community around us,” Hanafin said. “We have a beautiful Y, but I think it still lacks that real ownership from the community.”

The city’s recreation programs are now coordinated through the YMCA, at 1121 S. Houk Road.

“The big issue we have is when we put on a really cool event, and nobody shows up, it’s really hard to do again,” Hanafin said. “Last year we had 40-plus couples for a date night. This year, we had (fewer), and I’m not quite sure why. We lost money on that program, so we can’t run a date night again and be financially responsible with the few dollars we have.”

Although many YMCA programs, like the Orange Crush Invitational swim meet, “Daddy-Daughter Dance” and Easter egg hunt are successful, Hanafin said there needs to be more participants, volunteers and financial partnerships.

“The more the community embraces the Y, that benefits all of us,” Hanafin said.

Finally, parks supervisor Stacy Davenport said the recent 10 straight days of snow has put the Veterans Park spray and play installation behind schedule. However, he said the park will be ready to open on Memorial Day weekend as planned. Linda Mathews, the city’s customer service liaison, told the board that in addition to Veterans Park, the Veterans Plaza between the YMCA and National Guard building, as well as the city’s new dog park, will all officially open Memorial Day weekend.

The Veterans Park construction site near the YMCA off of Houk Road is shown in a photo taken earlier this week. Veterans Park construction site near the YMCA off of Houk Road is shown in a photo taken earlier this week.

Gary Budzak | The Gazette

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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