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Parks & Rec staffer gives programming update, details new offerings this summer

Amber Shartzer says there are a lot of good things going on with Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation. And she made sure she was present Monday night to fill the Danville City Commission in on the positive movement.

“John had requested to be on the agenda,” Shartzer said after the meeting, referring to long-time employee John Cocanougher, who recently suffered a heart attack. After the news got around, Shartzer said they were asked if they wanted to be taken off the agenda due to the situation.

“I told them no. John wanted us to be there and to share all the positive things happening with Parks & Rec, all the good news,” Shartzer said. “I wasn’t going to let him down.”

Shartzer is an administrative assistant for the agency, having worked there part-time since she was a teenager. She’s been a full-time staff member for the last three years.

Shartzer gave an overall update, including enrollment numbers in programs and classes, as well as a few new endeavors the agency is taking on.

One of the new initiatives is the extension of day camp hours this summer, now offered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pre-registration will take place somewhere around the beginning of May, with the camp running June 3 through Aug. 2.

Shartzer said more details, including the fee and activities that will be offered, will be released after the parks board’s next meeting.

“Since the Wellness Center is doing their day camp this summer, we wanted to help the kids out in the community if they need a place to go,” she said. “The staff is excited about it, and prepared for it.”

Also new this year will be an arts festival, held in Millennium Park. Cocanougher was heading up the organization of the festival, Shartzer said, and she is in the process of touching bases with organizers, with more details to come later.

Shartzer told the commission they had just wrapped up youth basketball, with a three-game tournament held Monday night at Kentucky School for the Deaf.

“We’ve had more than 293 games this year, the most participants we’ve had in both basketball and cheerleading in three years,” Shartzer said. “So we’re really proud of that.”

Commissioner Kevin Caudill asked Shartzer how many venues Parks & Rec uses to play basketball in. She said they hold games and/or practices at Jenny Rogers, Toliver, Woodlawn and Perryville elementary schools, as well as at KSD.

“So, spread out at different locations?” Caudill asked.

“Yes,” Shartzer said. “And we use as much time as we can in all of those gyms.”

A cheerleading exhibition was also held Thursday evening at Toliver Elementary, she said, with more than 50 participants.

“For summer prep, we’ve got DCA (Danville Christian Academy), Danville (High School) and Bate (Middle School) calling Millennium Park home,” Shartzer said, in reference to softball teams. Tuesday night was the first softball game of the season.

She said staff has been preparing soccer fields in Millennium, with practices already starting and games to begin within the next couple of weeks.

In updates concerning the Bunny Davis center, she said 80 students participated in dance over the last year; 10 students are taking karate; and there were more than 1,100 check-ins at the center. She said on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, both racquetball courts at Bunny Davis are usually full. Shartzer also said the tennis courts have been in use when the weather is nice, and fitness classes are running smoothly as well.

“Things are going great from a programming standpoint,” Shartzer told the commission.

Registration will begin for T-ball, baseball and softball on March 26, and run through mid to late April, Shartzer said. Then staff will begin putting teams together, and practices will begin in May or June.

Shartzer said T-ball is for ages 5-6; and coach pitch baseball is offered for junior (6-8), and senior (8-10). Coach pitch baseball and softball is offered for junior (7-9) and senior (10-12), and machine pitch softball is offered for ages 10-12.

Mayor Mike Perros commended Shartzer and others on the Parks & Rec staff for “picking up the slack” so efficiently while Cocanougher has been unable to work. He asked Shartzer how Cocanougher was doing.

“He’s doing much better, but he still needs positive thoughts and prayers coming his way,” Shartzer said. “He has a long road ahead of him.”