Parks and Rec Director: No plan to have Shepherd’s House participants help at Millennium 

No plan exists to have participants of Shepherd’s House working at Danville or Boyle County parks, Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation Director John Drake told board members on Wednesday.

That’s despite the discussion which occurred at the last joint city-county Parks and Recreation ad hoc committee meeting.

“It wasn’t on the agenda (of the ad hoc meeting), so Roger and I were both kind of given a curveball with the suggestion there may be alternate sources of labor,” Drake said.

Since that meeting, and the subsequent article in The Advocate-Messenger, Drake said they had been fielding calls regarding the proposition from Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney.

“We have gotten some calls. There would be some concern. I have not started to pursue that conversation and before I did, I wanted to put it on the agenda for you all to instruct me to go that way or to put it on hold and tell me, ‘Let’s think through it,’ before we try to go that way,” Drake said.

Millennium Park is currently cared for by park employees; no inmates have ever been utilized at the park, and Draked called this the “philosophy for the past 20 years.” He was quick to note, however,  that the participants at Shepherd’s House are not inmates.

Danville City Commission member Rick Serres spoke up, having also been present at the ad hoc meeting. Serres said he had not “had the chance for an invitation” to meet with McKinney and the individuals at Shepherd’s House to discuss the matter.

“We would have to talk about when that candidate is ready and would they need supervision. These aren’t criminals, they’re just drug rehabbing and they need this outlet,” Serres said.

He had suggested Jackson Park during the ad hoc meeting. Serres said he made that suggestion because “there’s always trash to pick up, there’s always dog poop to pick up, and they could probably do trimming.”

Chair Roger Ross said he wanted to be sure if that option were ever pursued, it would not take the existing employees away from their work in order to supervise volunteers.

“We can’t afford to take Harold (Logue) out of the mix,” Ross said, referring to the maintenance supervisor. 

Drake said they definitely wouldn’t do that, agreeing that the department did not have the budget to have a staff member serve as a volunteer supervisor.

“If it becomes an issue and we’re going to go in that direction, then the budget number would become a reality. We would need to do something that’s out of the scope of what we’ve got,” Drake said.

In other news

• The board heard that the tennis league discussions were continuing. Drake said the plan was “a go.”

Serres said a lot of people were excited about the return of the league.

• Drake talked about the user fee numbers from the Bunny Davis Recreation Complex. Drake said the fitness center user fee numbers are down, but there are still many using the complex, which has more purposes than just the fitness center. He cited the public racquetball courts, pool and tennis courts, which are lit. 

“We have some features, regardless of the age of those features, that are still valuable assets to our community and they’re providing quality of life for a great deal of people,” Drake said.

Member Cecile Napier shared how she often saw people going to use the tennis courts, which wasn’t reflected in the number of people visiting the facility.

“That’s always been our philosophy, those are public courts,” Drake said, adding that those are cost-free to people.

• The board welcomed LaFonda Stallworth, the board’s newest member. Stallworth replaces Faith Atmore.

• It was learned that the swim team had to be capped at 100 people for competition, but can have additional swimmers who are noncompetitive, participating only at home events. The price will be $80 for regular swimmers, and $50 for non-conference swimmers.

Drake called it a “fair way” and said they might get more swimmers that ordinarily might not sign up.

• The prices were set for the 2017 family pool pass, which is $100 for two adult caregivers and three children, with additional $25 per child beyond three.

• The board learned the pool at Bunny Davis is undergoing minor repairs, said Maintenance Supervisor Logue. It has been drained so the cracks can be patched and should be on schedule to open for the summer.

• The board learned about the upcoming Horsin’ Around at the Dirty Derby 5K Run put on by the Centre College Student Government Association to benefit Camp Horsin’ Around in Perryville.

The run will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Millennium Park.

• Also, the board learned that Boyle County Relay For Life will be 4 to 10 p.m. on April 29 at the Millennium Park, with an event for survivors from 2 to 4 p.m. earlier that day at Morning Pointe.

The next meeting of the Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation board for 4:15 p.m. on May 17 at the Kroger-Rotary Shelter at the Millennium Park.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.