Park Board, Jan. 7, 2016

Will Homewood parks offer a different kind of winter recreation next year? Ms. Smalley is leading the way.

Will Homewood parks offer a different kind of winter recreation next year? Ms. Smalley pitched the idea for a pop-up skate rink over the holidays.

Some things never change, like the Park Board’s and Exceptional Foundation’s differences over parking. But Ms. Smalley had an idea for a different kind of winter recreation in Homewood next year–a pop up skate rink–and got the okay to investigate it more seriously. Pictured is a marketing photograph for a similar attraction at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. As conceived, the rink would be set up temporarily during the winter holidays, and charge admission.

Gary Isenhower Homewood Park & Recreation Board Applied: 10/08/15

Members present: Chris Meeks, chair, Jody Brant, Gary Isenhower (replacing at-large member Tom Blake, who finished his second and last term in December), Michael Murray, Paula Smalley, Marjorie Trimm, and Tyler Vail.

Members absent: Becky Morton and Keith Stansell. Also absent was council liaison Richard Laws.

Staff present: Berkley Squires, public service superintendent, Rusty Holley, Rec Center director, board secretary, Jakob Stephenson, athletic director

Audience attendance: 1

Approved the Dec. 3, 2015, minutes.

Chairman’s comments: Mr. Meeks said a final, final draft of the shared parking agreement with the Exceptional Foundation was in the hands of the foundation for approval now and should be ready to present at the February meeting. Reaching an agreement has eluded the two boards since October 2014,when the Foundation announced its plans to begin the expansion work immediately, and to excavate a basement, which increased the building’s indoor area and meant greater inconvenience from construction equipment. (The board had overseen the Rec Center expansion and its own construction inconveniences the previous year.)

The 2016 Monkey C 5K will be the third year the event benefitting childhood cancer research and care is held at Homewood's Central Park.

The 2016 Monkey C 5K will be the third year at Homewood’s Central Park for the event benefiting childhood cancer research and Camp Smile A Mile.

Approved four upcoming events, with some hesitation on one:  On the recommendation of the Facilities Committee, the board approved

  1. The Exceptional Foundation’s February Calendar, with no changes. The monthly calendar approval is aimed at managing the shared parking situation with the Foundation;
  2. Holiday hours for the year, with closings on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving day and the day after, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Dec. 26, which is a Monday and the Christmas work holiday this year. The Senior Center has the same holiday closings and is normally closed on Sundays. The Lee Center is closed on those days in addition to being closed on Martin Luther King’s holiday, President’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day and Veterans Day.
  3. Approving the Monkey C 5K at Homewood Central Park on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 4:30 a.m. (that’s right, a.m.) – to 12 noon. Benefitting Camp Smile A Mile for children with cancer.
  4. The Christ Fellowship Church vacation Bible school/outreach event called “Rock the Block” at Patriot Park, June 6-9, from 5-8:30 p.m. Last year’s event created parking problems. It will be approved with the condition that participants park at the Senior Center.

Before adjourning at the 10 minute mark, Mr. Meeks asked new member Gary Isenhower to introduce himself. Mr. Isenhower has three children, in Edgewood Elementary, the Middle School, and at Ole Miss. The Morris Avenue resident said he recently rolled off the board of the Homewood Youth Baseball program after 8 years and wanted to continue his involvement with the parks program.

Ms. Smalley then suggested a the park board investigate for next winter holidays hiring a “pop-up” skating rink, which uses special skates that glide across a recyclable synthetic material in place of ice. One such rink was open at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, allowing 35 skaters at a time, called Snofari Adventure. Ms. Smalley said she’s seen them in other cities, including Atlanta. She will look into it further and report back.

The meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m.

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