The completion of the new dog park in Union was the Union Parks Department’s biggest accomplishment of 2012, according to Kevin Arand, parks director.
“We had a very successful year in the parks department,” Arand said.
The land, located south of the sand volleyball court on North Christina Avenue, and funds for the dog park were donated by a Union resident, Peggy Swisher.
Arand said having a dog park was a goal of the department, but was not in the budget.
“We were able to get (a dog park) sooner thanks to Peggy,” Arand said, noting that the dog park is heavily utilized.
In addition to providing land and funding, Swisher funded the playground next to the dog park.
The playground was installed in October. Arand said he expects usage to pick up this spring and summer.
Also in 2012, the Union Parks Department was able to update roofs throughout the parks system, giving all the shelters and buildings a uniform look.
Arand noted that there are a few more roofs to be completed at the ball park behind the city pool, but the rest of the project is complete.
The Valentine’s comedy show in February sold out, Arand said, noting that the one scheduled for 2013 already is sold out as well.
The department may phase out a September comedy show; however, the decision has not been made yet.
As in years past, the Founders Day celebration was successful, Arand said.
“We continue to make Founders Day more family oriented,” Arand said. “With the support of businesses and civic organizations Founders Day was a huge success.”
Arand said the event will remain at the city park and will again incorporate the pool into some of the activities.
In 2012, the department added a warning track at the main ball field. The track warns the player when he or she is getting close to the fence, which helps protect the player and the fencing, Arand said.
“We’re constantly looking to upgrade our current amenities throughout the park system,” he said.
One-table picnic shelters were added throughout the park system in 2012, Arand said, adding that others will be added in 2013.
The department also will continue to offer recreational exercise classes, such as yoga, total body fitness, water aerobics and swim lessons. The department will add a Tai-Chi class in 2013.
Park activities, such as the Easter egg hunt and Christmas party, were highly attended.
“The parks department is very thankful to local businesses who support these programs,” Arand said. “If it wasn’t for these businesses we would not be able to do some of these things.”
Before the fiscal year ends, in July, the parks department has several projects to complete.
An octagon-shaped, lighted gazebo will be extended about 25 feet into the city lake.
The gazebo will be available for weddings and other events.
No fishing will be allowed on the new gazebo, Arand noted.
Another endeavor the parks department is working on is to add parking and a small playground at the current soccer complex, near Dickey Bub on Highway 50.
Arand noted that the land is above the floodplain, so neither project should be affected by the flooding.
Restrooms at the main ball fields will be updated and the roofing will be replaced.
Arand noted that 2013-14 capital improvement projects aren’t yet complete and haven’t been approved by the city council.
Arand did share that he hopes to get the basketball courts resurfaced, but didn’t elaborate on a time frame.
The East Park Development committee will meet this Thursday, Jan. 10, at 6 p.m. to discuss taking before the city council a proposition to develop the land.
East Park is a proposed park and sports complex on the east end of town expected to have trails, pavilions, playgrounds, walking paths, exercise equipment open space, ball fields, a small lake and other amenities.
An initiative placed before the voters in April 2011 failed by 88 votes.