The St. Clair Parks and Recreation Board again will try to talk the city into moving forward with recreation opportunities for residents through the hiring of a program director.
During its September meeting, board members asked City Administrator Rick Childers to add monies to the park board’s 2013 budget that would allow a local recreation programmer to be hired.
“I think this is an important position,” park board President Beth Lauer said. “This would be a big step in offering our citizens things to do right here.”
A year ago, the park board put a recreation director salary into its requested budget, but the city’s aldermen nixed it in order to have a balanced overall budget.
Lauer said hiring a parks and recreation program director would allow the city to resume offering supervised programs for children and adults. Currently, the city does not offer activities at either Orchard or Evergreen parks or in its gym at city hall. Other organizations and groups use the facilities, and some pay usage fees.
“I find it very important for the city to make this step for the future of our community and the people who live in it,” Lauer told The Missourian. “We need a community with things to do and reasons for not only people but businesses to want to move to our community and make it a better place. In order to do that, we have to start somewhere, and for the parks department I believe it is with a leader such as a recreation director who can get us started.”
Park board members often have discussed the need for St. Clair to have programs for citizens and a supervisor to be in charge of them.
During their Sept. 24 meeting, board members said the salary for a recreation director could come out of funding that has in previous years been used for the community swimming pool. According to budget figures, $33,600 was spent this year on the pool. In the three previous years, that figure has been near or above $30,000.
More than $17,000 of the amount was spent on salaries for pool personnel this past summer with another $1,200 in training.
The starting director salary discussed was $24,000 plus benefits. Board members also discussed the alternative of hiring a recreation director part time during the summer and possibly expanding it into a full-time position over time.
The pool was demolished after it closed for the season this year. The city is hoping to construct a spray park at the Evergreen Park location.
Other major expenditures park board members discussed were adding a disc golf course at Evergreen Park and purchasing new lighted Christmas decorations.
The overall 2012 park board budget is $196,819. Childers said estimates point to the 2013 park budget being about the same.
The board spent a few minutes discussing the Oct. 20 Boo Bash scheduled at Orchard Park. The scheduled time for the city’s Halloween party is noon to 5 p.m.
The annual event will coincide with the St. Clair Jaycees Chili Cook-Off which will take place under the main pavilion at the park.
Vendor applications for Boo Bash are available at city hall and on the city’s website.
Park board members decided to have Boo Bash booth prices be the same as last year. An informational booth will cost $10. Others will be $25.
Trick-or-treating for children age 12 and under is scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m.
New this year will be haunted hayrides sponsored by St. Clair Boy Scout troops. The rides are scheduled for both Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at dusk.
A final Boo Bash meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15.