GIRARD Board to help raise rec funds

Girard has $53,000 set aside this year for park and recreation activities.
GIRARD -- The chairman of city council's park and recreation committee is forming an advisory board designed, in part, to raise recreation funds.
Councilman Charles Doran, D-4th, said the committee will eventually be made up of residents with fund-raising ideas and those involved in city athletic leagues that use city facilities.
Because of the city's economic problems, council has reduced from 2.5 percent to 1.5 percent the city income tax receipts earmarked for recreation.
Reducing the amount of money allocated for recreational activities was just one recommendation in the state auditor's performance audit designed to dig the city out of a state-imposed fiscal emergency in the long term.
What it means: As a result of the decrease in funding, Doran said the city has only $53,000 for parks and recreation operations and maintenance. This includes a salary decrease for parks and recreation director Mark Zuppo. Zuppo agreed that his wage be reduced from $15,000 annually to $1.
"We're looking for ways to provide recreation without added cost to the city," Doran said.
Already, Doran explained, the Girard Baseball League is paying for the electric use at the Tod Park concession stand and $1,500 for baseball field supplies.
In addition, he said, the baseball league has paid for a furnace in the Scout cabin at Liberty Park.
Randy Weibel, city building and grounds superintendent, will continue to prepare the fields for play.
Help needed: Doran said he is looking for people to serve on the advisory board who have ideas or can get involved in activity programming.
Doran, who took his council seat in January, explained that the city is not looking to charge those who use the city-owned parks.
"We're not trying to set a fee. We're trying to get help. We don't want to demand," the councilman asserted.
Rather, Doran said, the city wants to provide residents with the same recreational activities they have always had.
The advisory board will have a second function.
Code of conduct: Doran explained that an adult code of conduct at athletic events is in his council committee and he wants the board to review it. The conduct code was proposed to city council in March.
The committee chairman said adults haven't been acting up at athletic events. "You want to be prepared for it," Doran said, calling attention to violence, including homicides, at sporting events in other places around the nation.

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