This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October's Park Board and Park Corporation meeting

The October Park Board meeting went longer than normal and it had a full complement of members present. With four guests from youth soccer and one blogger, two people were without chairs.

The meeting opened with a discussion with the youth soccer people. Youth soccer came to Rensselaer in 1991, organized by a local businessman whose daughter wanted to play soccer and the soccer coach at SJC. It operates under the umbrella of SJC, which handles its finances. Money that is raised (registration fees and sponsorships) is turned over to SJC and then SJC pays bills (fees for referees, the cost of jerseys, socks, and a medal for each member, insurance, and equipment). The organization has always had revenues exceed costs. There are two programs, one for local competition and another that has teams that travel for games in Northwest Indiana and Illinois. The first program has about 320-330 kids and the second about 60. The small kids (the U4 and U6, which means Under 4 and Under 6) do not really play soccer. They just run around and kick the ball. The older kids (U8, U10, U12) are expected to follow rules of the game and their games have referees.

Peak enrollment in youth soccer occurred at the turn of the century with over 450 kids. Since then Pop Warner and sixth grade sports programs have provided other outlets for kids sports in the fall. This year it was not clear that there would be a soccer program. SJC decided to convert the field that was used for soccer into a second softball field. Quick work by several people behind the scenes moved the program to the old Monnett School property. One concern for the soccer visitors was keeping a regulation sized field for the U14 travel team. It needs to be 120 by 70 yards.

While they were there and after they left I got the impression that the Park Department will want to separate the local leagues part from their SJC sponsorship and make them part of the park programs. The travel league will probably continue under SJC sponsorship. That transition should not be too difficult. The more difficult question will be where the field will be. The Park Board wants to put all the youth baseball fields in one location and all the soccer fields in another. There are two ways to do that. The ball fields can be grouped together at the Monnett property and soccer fields at Brookside Park, or it can be reversed, with soccer at Monnett and baseball at Brookside. The members of the board are unsure of which direction they want to go. If you as a citizen have some strong feelings or opinions on the matter, you need to communicate them to the people on the Park Board. If you wait too long, you will be able to complain as much as you want, but it will have no effect.

In other business, the park currently makes no money from the pop machines. The bottles they dispense are not the same as what is sold in the stores and the vendor, Pepsi, has raised prices so that it gets all the profit. The pedestrian bridge (what I refer to as the Talbert Bridge) has been paid off. The bridge was provided by Talbert, but the Park Department had to pay for the site work. A new diving board for the pool was approved; at the end of the summer the diving board cracked and was taken out of service. There was discussion of whether there should be a closed meeting or an executive session so that the members can try to reach some agreements on what direction they want to go with locating ball fields. Some members thought that was a bad idea. (Other than me, there are rarely members of the public who attend these meetings.) The next meeting will be held on All Souls Day at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

The picture for the day is of the harvest. It was taken on Sunday along Mattheson.

The trees are still green but they are dropping leaves.

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