Children’s Park to remain open

Commissioners talk mowing with parks chairman


ARENAC COUNTY — Children’s Park in Standish will remain open, according to Arenac County Parks and Recreation Chairman Joe Sancimino.

During the county commissioners meeting on July 2, Sancimino said the parks board had ultimately decided to keep the park open and make the necessary investments to keep it in good shape.

“We had a meeting last week, and the parks and rec commission voted to keep open Children’s Park,” Sancimino said. “so along with that, keeping open Children’s Park, we will invest in new chains at the park out of (Hunter Access Program) money.”

He said the HAP funds, which are state payments to allow hunting on public parks during the off-season, are actually coming from Oasis Lake’s HAP, but can be used for the smaller park.

Commissioner Jeff Trombley said he had heard about a man interested in the old spring rider at Children’s Park, which Trombley believes is not OSHA compliant. Sancimino said there is no plan to get rid of the spring rider, however, as he believes it can be made compliant with the addition of some mulch around the toy, as well as any other playground equipment that would need it.

Sancimino reported that while the parks budget has dropped to $3,900 and payroll is $4,000 every two weeks, the summer rush is now in full swing and generating revenue at Oasis Lake and Point Au Gres Park.

“That’s the key to running a business,” Sancimino said. “You have expenses and revenue, and now with the weather we are doing okay. Over the last weekend, we made our payroll.”

“I know what it costs to run Oasis Lake for a week and Au Gres for a week, and we brought that much in and more,” he added.

Sancimino also addressed concerns about paying workers on days where the weather prevents them from doing any work, stating that he is in “constant contact” with the parks staff and that no one is getting paid on days where they can’t work. The commissioners were much more concerned about the maintenance itself, however.

In April the county commissioners passed a motion that would keep the new parks and recreation lawnmower at the Oasis Lake and the older tractor at Point Au Gres Park so they would not need to be moved around the county as much — the lawnmower would only be moving back and forth to Children’s Park, and the tractor to Youngman’s Park. Sancimino said that the two have continued to be rotated around, citing the lawnmower’s limitations.

“The mower at Au Gres is also a tractor, so we had Andy (Rokosz) doing the trail at Oasis Lake, and for that he needed the tractor,” Sancimino said. “So while he was using the tractor there, he didn’t want (Kevin Dewald) at Au Gres waiting to use the mower on the tractor, so Andy had him use (the lawnmower).”

He added that this was not a one-off occurrence, and that the trails at Oasis Lake simply need the tractor to help maintain it. County Commission Chairman Bob Luce asked with the trail cut back, if the lawnmower would be capable of keeping it maintained, but Sancimino said the workers need to clear the area of debris and are unable to remove branches or sticks with it, since the lawnmower is only capable of cutting grass.

Luce also requested information about the lawnmower’s blades getting dulled and damaged, and Sancimino said the damage was discovered at Point Au Gres while doing maintenance on the machine. The blades are being sharpened by someone on the parks payroll, Sancimino said.

“That’s why you keep the tractor at Au Gres, and keep the lawnmower at Oasis Lake,” Luce said. “The major reason we bought a new machine was because we didn’t want to move it back and forth.”

Sancimino said he wanted to trade the lawnmower in for another tractor, but the commissioners scoffed at the idea, pointing out it had just been purchased last year. He added that he answers to the parks and recreation board, and that the county commissioners needed to back off and let the parks board run the parks as it sees fit.


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