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Recreation director hits the ground running

Although he had been appointed the leader of the North Collins Town Recreation Department four days earlier, Jan Mathis came to the town board’s March 12 meeting with a list of projects, plans and wishes.

Among his plans for the year is the installation of a bocce court, along with sand volleyball courts in Fricano Park. Mathis said that he believes the upper section of the park is under-utilized and would make a perfect location. He said that, with club volleyball offered in the area and the sport’s rising popularity, the site could justify a tournament.

Mathis further reported researching the feasibility of installing an (at least) nine-hole Frisbee® golf course in another section of the park. While the sport’s official “nets” can be expensive, Mathis said that 55-gallon drums could be both attractive and cost effective. He has also found a possible source of funding for a tennis court at the park that is specifically designed for small towns.

Other potential immediate plans he offered were a “great outdoors” photo contest for young people in town and a chalk festival, to highlight artists’ sidewalk creations. Mathis also reported creating a North Collins Recreation page on Facebook, to provide updates on programming.

He said that he also hopes to bring back summer music programs, whether at the gazebo in the village or at Fricano Park. Music could also be offered at the Danker Park in New Oregon.

Mathis asked the board to consider retaining Rozalin Warren with the after-school youth program, in some capacity. Warren began the initiative while she was the town recreation director, and Mathis said that her understanding of the program, as well as her being on faculty at the school, would be beneficial.

One area Mathis asked be addressed is the use of town parks by groups. He said that he finds the current system confusing, in relation to what constitutes a town-sponsored event and insurance coverage, for outside groups. He will be meeting with the Eden Recreation Department to learn about its athletic association.

In another matter, Highway Superintendent David Winter reported that this winter has been rough, especially on his equipment, which has necessitated repairs. He assured the board that he has sufficient salt supplies to see the town through the rest of the cold weather.

Winter also said the town should examine the state of the library parking lot. He said the pavement has taken an especially hard hit, this winter, and needs to be redone. While there is no line in the current budget for the work, the board agreed to seek quotes in the spring. Winter estimated that the project will cost at least $30,000.

In other board news:

– The town parks committee will again seek sponsorship of the planters at the park. Interested parties were asked to contact the committee.

– Town Clerk Margaret Orrange said that she would draft a resolution for the town board, in observance of the North Collins Volunteer Fire Company’s 125th anniversary.

The town board will next meet at 7 p.m. on April 9 in the town hall.

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