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Village may abandon Parks Committee

April 27, 2011 | 08:50 AM
Walworth — The village is playing with an idea that would eliminate the Parks Committee.

A proposal discussed at the April board meeting would send the responsibilities of maintaining and improving the parks to the Public Work's Committee. A parks subcommittee would make recommendations to the Public Works committee.

Trustee Eddie Snyder, who chairs the Parks Committee, said the Public Works Department is already in charge of maintaining the baseball fields and parks, which is why it would absorb the responsibility.

He said this change should help provide a better channel for concerns to reach the Village Board. Also, the Parks Committee hasn't had money to make many improvements.

According to Snyder, the parks receive funds collected from building impact fees, which have dropped dramatically in the past few years.

"With a lack of building permits, which was a major funding source, it has reduced the amount of money for parks," Snyder said. "It is not to say that in the future, if subdivisions start to take off, the group couldn't reform again."

Snyder has been charged with rewriting the ordinance, which he hopes to finish by the village's May board meeting.

He said he thinks the parks subcommittee could meet bimonthly, but could meet more frequently if needed.

Snyder said the plan is to have a representative from Big Foot High School and the Big Foot Recreation Department serve on the committee.

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Last year, Village Board members public comments starting they wanted those two groups to be more involved with park planning. Members also mulled over asking the school and recreation department to contribute cash to the village parks.

Recently, Snyder said the village and these groups have been working well together.

"There just hasn't been a close enough working relationship with all these groups in the last four years," Snyder said.

At a parks meeting, concerns were raised by both the school and recreation department that updates to the park needed to be made. They also raised concerns about maintenance.

Snyder agrees some work is needed at Toynton and Devil's Lane parks, but believes they are some of the best ball fields in the area.

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At Toynton Park, Snyder said the committee has discussed adding safety netting, new bleachers and dugouts. To comply with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association rules, Snyder said the outfield fences may need to be moved in, to make the field smaller.

To prepare for the baseball and softball seasons, Tony Grecko, who is the commissioner of the Big Foot Ball and Glove program, and other volunteers prepped the parks.

"He and his group did an absolute phenomenal job of getting the parks ready," Snyder said.

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