SYRACUSE — Syracuse Park Board met Monday evening, Feb. 12. The meeting was spent discussing solutions to community center rental issues as it’s possible to make reservations to rent space with or without alcohol, as well as some changes that will be occurring in Lakeside Park.
Parks Superintendent Chad Jonsson and Program Director Tyler McLead brought the rental issue to the board’s attention, stating there is concern the community center is becoming a “party spot” and it’s not being used in the way it was originally envisioned. As there aren’t large spaces to rent for celebrations with alcohol, like wedding receptions, the center opened its doors for the need of the community.
As there are in and out of town rentals, the center has been experiencing an increase in the amount of out of town rentals with alcohol. While that generally wouldn’t be a problem, an overwhelming amount of the out of town rentals with a 200-person limit have been bringing more than 200 people, with the majority of them drinking. Last year from the second weekend of May to the second weekend of September, almost every weekend held a giant get-together resulting in the center’s employees spending two days just to clean up.
In hopes of coming to a solution, Jonsson proposed various avenues to solve the problem, one choice being to leave the situation as is but upping the rental costs to balance out the amount of time being spent cleaning up. As the year has already started and deposits have already been made, changes won’t take place until 2019, as the board doesn’t feel comfortable in creating price changes.
The board pondered if the rentals were looked at as a community service or as a way to add funds to the parks department, to which Jonsson replied the answer is both. Building rentals are a need for the immediate Syracuse community but also for surrounding communities as well. The issue will be revisited at March’s meeting after board members have brainstormed about a potential solution.
Tree board has planned to plant 10 street trees in the spring. Always trying to increase the tree diversity in the community, Jerry Riffle reported a red horse chestnut will be planted. Riffle and Jonsson have been discussing the possibility of hosting a planting day in April where 10-15 trees will be planted in Laudeman Park.
With the new restrooms underway in Lakeside Park, the cheapest to go about installing power will be for the service to be completely shut off until the restrooms are ready. The parks department does not want to public to be concerned when the lights are out at night. There is hope for the restrooms to be completed by Memorial Day weekend.
Ongoing activities are judo and pickleball as well as the adult basketball league. The next free movie night will show “Beauty and the Beast” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16. Registration is now open for the princess party. The party will take place from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 14. The cost to participate in the party is $15 per child and $10 per adult. Cinderella will be present.
The doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the Kiwanis Trivia Contest Thursday, March 1, at $50 per team with a four-person limit on a team. The indoor cabin fever garage sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 3. The Cub Scout Pinewood Derby will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, March 5. The Rotary Poker Tournament starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10.
The next park board meeting will be March 12.