The city of Delaware’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board did not have a quorum at its monthly meeting Tuesday, but that did not prevent those who did attend from discussing the board’s future.
At recent meetings, members have questioned the importance and role of the board, as well as some members’ irregular attendance and level of commitment.
The city’s website said Parks and Recreation “is a seven-member board who serve a three-year term that advises City Council and administration on parks and recreational programming and facility development.” Its members represent the city’s four wards, as well as the schools.
City Manager Tom Homan told the board that a new parks and natural resources director will be hired this year. Over the years, the city has changed the role of the position, even recently having just a parks supervisor and letting the YMCA run the recreation side.
Homan said the director’s duties would include overseeing the parks and other city resources, such as shade trees, Hidden Valley Golf Course, Oak Grove Cemetery and a portion of the Olentangy River.
He said the position will be posted soon, and involve a nationwide search. Homan suggested a member of the advisory board could be part of the interviewing process.
There was also talk of splitting the board into subcommittees where members could spend more time brainstorming and volunteering. Chairwoman Allyson Lash said the split entities could be separate parks and recreation subcommittees. Full attendance for a February meeting was encouraged to further discuss the matter.
City Council previously formed a recreation levy subcommittee to spend voter-approved money on park improvements, but that group did not include any advisory board members. Parks superintendent Stacy Davenport said that in the future, before deciding what kind of equipment to put into parks, he would seek input from the advisory board.
The advisory board also heard parks and recreation updates on Tuesday.
Davenport said that among the park improvements were “Expression Swings,” which allow for parents and small children to swing together while facing one another. He said that the new dog park, slated to open this spring, doesn’t have a definite date yet because they don’t want the grass to be ruined.
Also at the meeting, Delaware Community Center YMCA representative Roger Hanafin spoke about recent events, such as the Breakfast with Santa, as well as upcoming events like this weekend’s Orange Crush Invitational swim event, “Date Night” for adult couples on Jan. 30, the “Daddy-Daughter Dance” in February, the “Mother-Son Super Hero Party” in March, and Safety Town in June.