Gary Parks Dept. catches up after 2 months off
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent January 21, 2013 8:58PM
More information on new fee schedules and renting parks facilities is available by calling 886-7099.
Adults and youths interested in working with the Snow Corps can call the Citizens Info Desk at 881-1300. Snow removal will be provided based on the number of individuals who volunteer.
Updated: April 5, 2013 10:02AM
GARY — In its first meeting in two months, the Park Board paid a long overdue bill, discussed a program to get young people to shovel snow, did some hiring, announced a new fee schedule and a plan to put a large price tag on renting out its largest park.
Before the board met Wednesday, its last meeting was Nov. 14, but its largest bill of the day — $11,000 to Davis Security — was for a firm that had not been paid for its work since September 2011.
A previous board hired Davis Security in 2011 to patrol a large, rented tent erected in Marquette Park to hold events while the popular Marquette Park Pavilion was being rehabilitated as part of the $28 million Marquette Park Lakefront East project funded by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.
The tent did not draw events like the pavilion would have. The lack of events meant a lack of funds for the Park Department’s nonreverting fund, or a fund that pays for its own services, including private security, from the money it receives in rental fees.
“A lot of claims were supposed to be paid from the nonreverting fund,” explained board attorney Cornell Collins. “But, there was no money generated (by the park) because the place was closed.”
Back payments in the thousands of dollars, including two other payments of $13,000 and $9,000 to Davis Security, piled up, but the department has been working on paying them off, said Parks Superintendent Lori Peterson Latham.
As more companies look to hold larger events at the newly rehabbed Marquette Park, parks leaders are working to put together a fee package that could run about $5,000.
Latham said her staff is working on what that fee will include, from security to portable outdoor bathroom facilities.
The department also discussed its Snow Corps, a program for volunteers under age 21 to earn “Youth Service Bucks,” redeemable for trips and other department events, when they shovel snow from sidewalks for seniors and disabled residents, Latham said.
Under the supervision of adult volunteers, the youths also will clear snow from public bus stops to make it easier for residents to use those facilities, she said.
The board also approved hiring the first batch of six recreational aides and four groundskeepers, all part-time and all making $7.50 an hour.
There also will be eight full-time employees, ranging from a Youth Services Bureau director ($43,000 salary) to a laborer ($24,940 salary).