The Union Parks Department had a very good year.

That’s according to Parks Director Angela Sullivan, who began her work with the city in August.

“I am very proud of the department and what they’ve accomplished,” she said.

The biggest accomplishment, she noted, was officially opening the 46-acre Veterans Memorial Park, which includes the dedication of the Disabled Veterans Memorial.

“That is a huge accomplishment and I know it was a long time in the making for the city. To see everyone’s hard work and plans come to fruition is an amazing accomplishment for everyone involved,” Sullivan said.

Holding the first baseball, softball and soccer seasons at the new park also ranked on Sullivan’s list of accomplishments.

“The city has created a wonderful complex out there, and while there are improvements that can be made from the first season, everything is a learning process,” she said.

The city also completed its first season of the splash park at Veterans Memorial Park, which Sullivan said she’s excited to see continue in the coming year.

And while fireworks were hosted by the city this year, Sullivan noted that moving the fireworks from their home for many years to the new park was an accomplishment in itself.

“It appears that with its success, Veterans Memorial Park will be the home of the Independence Day fireworks display for a while,” Sullivan said.

Improvements to the city lake were completed this year, including the addition of fishing jetties, a floating fishing dock and handicapped parking lots.

Beginning in November 2018, fishing will be allowed. For the first time, the city will have a winter trout fishing program.

“I’m excited to see the first successful winter trout program here in the city of Union next winter,” Sullivan said.

In August, the Great American Solar Eclipse made its way through Union on the path of totality. While Sullivan didn’t have a hand in planning the event, she said she enjoyed helping execute the eclipse festivities.

“It was great to see the parks department and other city departments work together to successfully hold a city event,” she said. “It was nice to see both residents come out for the event and many, many visitors.”

Signage was updated at Clark-Vitt Memorial Park and added at Hoffert and College Hill parks, Sullivan noted.

The parks department hosted its first day trip, a winter lights trip, in December. Sullivan has monthly events planned throughout 2018.

Looking Ahead

In 2018, Sullivan said the parks department looks forward to its first trout fishing season, its first rummage sale and its first vintage baseball game.

Sullivan also is exploring taking part in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson set for June 21.

Departments, facilities and other organizations worldwide sign up to participate in a free, 30-minute swimming lesson to promote the importance of swimming lessons and share how swimming lessons save lives.

In 2017, a total of 41,068 people participated in the event, Sullivan said.

Pending board approval, Sullivan also said she would like to host a pool party in conjunction with the lesson.

Another event the parks director said she hopes to see come to fruition is the first children’s triathlon.

“Kids see adults participating in these events, and this will give them the opportunity to join in and compete,” she said.