By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — Progress is being made at the new Schrock Ball Park, but Syracuse Park Board members were disappointed to learn it won’t be ready for use until next spring. They received an update during their regular meeting Monday night, May 9.
Chad Jonsson, park superintendent, reported drywall and RFP, a plastic covering for the walls is being completed within the buildings at the new ballpark. Conduit for the light poles and outside power has also been run.
If Mother Nature cooperates and the area doesn’t receive any rain for a while the contractor will start prepping for concrete work to the concession stand as well as paving the walking trail.
New board member Jaime Beer asked for a target completion date. Jonsson said he hoped the work would be complete by August so the grass could get a good start in the fall before winter. Playing football at the park this year is highly doubtful.
The park department celebrated Arbor Day Friday, April 29, with Syracuse Elementary third graders. They helped plant three trees at Laudeman Park. Jonsson said it was a nice introduction of the park to some adults who hadn’t been there before.
Saturday, April 30, with the help from some Wawasee Football players and soccer players the remaining 47 trees were planted. The 50 trees were part of a grant from ReLeaf of Michigan. There were 25 trees planted at Laudeman Park, 20 at Main and Dolan and five at Main and Polywood Way.
ReLeaf of Michigan then provided an additional 30 trees which were planted between the waste water treatment plant and Syracuse Cemetery. The Syracuse Street Department planted those trees. The town does have to maintain the trees for three years per the grant agreement.
The park department has not yet seen a demo of the mower it is interested in for the new ball field. The company handling the demo is still waiting for the mower deck to come in.
Jonsson requested any input on the new pavilions for Henry Ward Park or Laudeman Park before he sends them to the architect.
A proof has been completed for the future veterans memorial signs. The signs will have a QR code that when scanned will provide the text of the sign in Spanish.
Syracuse Town Council President Bill Musser has been talking with other council members regarding a no leash dog park in town. Jonsson reported Musser is going to ask the Main and Dolan Street property be approved for the dog park.
Park Board President Paul Newcomer asked if there was support from the council. Jonsson reported there have been questions, but no outright denial of the location for the park.
Discussion turned to summer staff for the park department. Three maintenance positions have been filled, but none of the life guard positions have. Jonsson noted the surrounding communities are offering $14-$15 an hour for life guards while Syracuse offers $11-$12
Newcomer asked what happened, Jonsson said COVID played a role as did other businesses can offer higher pay.
In programming, Darin Lucien reported the second Yoga session finished up on May 5 and may go back to meeting on Tuesdays starting May 31.
There was a good turnout for Touch-A-Truck and the Wawasee Key Club car show. The elementary school offered space for Touch-A-Truck to grow. This year there were 11 vehicles from police, fire and street department along with a large tractor.
Families seemed to wander between the two events.
The Farmers Market is set to open for the season Saturday, May 21. So far there are six seasonal vendors and one bi-weekly vendor set up while others will come in daily. There should be about 10 vendors a week at the market.
Registration for the Mudtastic is underway. The popular mud run will be held at Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation Saturday, June 18. Registration is limited to 300 participants.