Park Board, May 8, 2014

PARKSThe board tonight heard an upbeat report from a newly organized lacrosse league, chatted briefly about the upcoming rec center opening, and postponed ruling on a Central Park event request from a Northport religious group until it learned more about its non-profit status.

Members present: All-Chris Meeks, chairman, Tom Walker, Paula Smalley, Tyler Vail, Keith Stansell, Becky Morton, Marjorie Trimm, Michael Murray and Tom Blake (arriving late).

Members absent: None, however, council liaison Richard Laws was absent.

Staff present: Berkley Squires, public services director, Rusty Holley, park and recreation center superintendent, Jakob Stephens, athletic director, and Dianne Rice, board secretary.

Audience attendance: 2

Approved April 3, 2014 meeting minutes.

Director’s report

Mr. Squires clarified the timetable for the upcoming Grand Opening of the Rec Center (henceforth to be known as the Community Center) beginning May 13. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. that morning followed by a reception, likely ending at around 1 p.m. The open house previously scheduled for the entire day was changed to run from 4-7 p.m., mainly so that instructors and other people on hand wouldn’t have to be at the center all day.

Postponed action on a Central Park event request: The board asked Mr. Holley several questions about a facilities request from the Richardson Outreach Ministry, a non-denominational group run by David and Dr. Cassandra Blackburn-Richardson of Northport, who requested the use of the amphitheater area of Central Park all day on July 26 for a “Family Fun Day” of gospel singing and other activities, including the sale of merchandise. The group had reported that their church meeting place was destroyed in the 2011 tornado and the organization had not yet received its non-profit determination. After some discussion of charging the group the usual $1,000 fee, it was agreed the ministry leaders should talk further about the event at the Facilities Committee’s next meeting.

Lacrosse report

Lacrosse participation in Homewood has tripled in the last three years.

Paul Gohlke, vice president of the Homewood Patriot Lacrosse Association, described the growth and progress the group has made since organizing a nonprofit management board two years ago. The lacrosse effort in Homewood had been only loosely organized before that time, he said. The new board had helped Homewood catch up to lacrosse programs in surrounding communities.

Two years ago, there were 50 players on 3 boys teams. Today, there are 150 players on five boys’ teams and 3 girls’ teams. Numbers had grown through several promotional efforts, including a free clinic in September staffed by Birmingham-Southern College coaches, and lacrosse instruction incorporated into gym classes at all five Homewood schools. The Greater Birmingham Youth  Lacrosse Association subsidized enrollment of 8 resident players, he said.

For this spring’s season, there are 136 boys and girls signed up in grades 1-12, with 6 non-residents. Click here for pdf of 2014 season budget.

Mr. Gohlke thanked the city for the use of the West Homewood Park’s six-acre (upper) field and the quality of the field maintenance.

The group’s goals are to recruit more coaches, to establish a girls’ high school team in a few years, and to acquire better equipment. Mr. Meeks asked how the board could help and Mr. Gohlke said the rebounding walls could be rebuilt. He also suggested the board could arrange use of indoor gymnasium space during November and December. Practice space will become an issue if the program grows beyond 8 teams, he said.

Financially, the group started the spring season with $15,021 cash on hand, bringing in $11,200 from registrations and fundraising, not including end-of-season jamborees (tournaments) for a total of $26,221 against expenses of $11,794 for expenses such as field fees ($1,420) uniforms ($3,500), equipment, promotion and “other” ($3,565) for a balance of $14,427. These figures don’t include expenses or revenue from the late April jamboree.

More on the Community Center

Before adjourning, Mr. Squires said he would email all the board members drafts of the Park and Recreation budget for them to begin reviewing at the June 5 meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.

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