By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Sheila Wieringa, who has served as the Warsaw Parks recreation director since November 2015, announced plans to leave the position during the City of Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety meeting Friday, Aug. 6.
Stephanie Schaefer will be taking over the position. Schaefer has worked as Wieringa’s assistant for the past three years and has been with the parks department in some capacity for the past 14 years.
Wieringa said she is moving on to “a new challenge” but will remain in the Warsaw area.
“Stephanie is going to do an amazing job. She’s been my right hand for three years,” Wieringa said. “She has been with the city as a whole in a seasonal capacity for 11 years before that so she’s got the experience and she’s going to be amazing.”
Schaefer lives in Warsaw with her husband and four children.
“I’m very involved with the programs. We’ve come up with a lot of things together and have grown our department to what it is right now,” Schaefer said. “So I just plan on continuing what we started together and keep growing, offering free and low-cost events and programs for families.”
In a related matter, the board approved two contracts presented by Wieringa for entertainment related to the upcoming Light up the Night Christmas event. Wieringa also received approval for acceptance of an Indiana Arts Commission grant in the amount of $4,050. Those funds will be used to support the summer concert series.
In another matter, the board will be rejecting the offer of a land parcel donation at 607 E. Market Street.
The matter was discussed at the previous Board of Works meeting as city officials mulled over the idea of accepting the property and using it as a future location for a pump station.
The issue was tabled at that time in order to gather more details.
A memo from Warsaw Assistant City Planner Jacob Ihrie provided information on the status of the property adjacent to the land parcel, 603 E. Market St. That property currently has deeded owners; however, the lot is vacant and the owners owe $19,296.06 in property taxes and have made no payments since 2014.
Ihrie’s memo suggested that the property could be procured through sheriff’s sale and used in concurrence with the lot located at 607 E. Market St.
Mayor Joe Thallemer asked if relocation of the pump station is a current project that is being considered or if it’s more a matter of putting the city in the position that it would be available if needed.
Although there is no current project in place, Warsaw Utilities Manager Brian Davison said the lift station down the street is in poor condition and there isn’t room to make improvements.
“At some point here in the near future we’re going to need to do something with it because it is deteriorating,” Davison said.
When asked if both lots would be needed for the lift station, Davison said no, that the lift station structure would only be about 10 feet by 10 feet.
“I’m a little bit hesitant to be honest with you,” Thallemer said. “I wouldn’t want to hamstring the city in the future, by taking over property that is not buildable that we are going to get stuck with maintenance for a potential benefit, I guess I’m not convinced we couldn’t work around the area we’re in right now.”
The mayor said he believes it may be possible to acquire one of the land parcels at some point down the road if it becomes necessary.
“I know our guys work hard when it comes to mowing and maintenance and just to add another couple of lots in a low area, I guess I’m not excited about taking it over,” Thallemer said.
In another matter, a street closure request was approved for Sept. 11.
Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Parker said the closure is for two events, the Taste of Kosciusko and Kettleheads Home Brew Fest in downtown Warsaw. A tent will be set up on Buffalo Street for the Kettleheads and a portion of Center Street will be used for Taste of Kosciusko. Both events will run from 4-8 p.m.
In other news:
- The board approved a three-year grant agreement between the K21 Health Foundation and Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory in the amount of $30,000 for Autopulse CPR device repairs and replacement.
- The city street department received approval for the purchase of a 2021 rear load garbage truck in the amount of $172,700.
- The next regular meeting is 10:30 a.m. Aug. 20.