The Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department has several ongoing and upcoming projects in 2020, one of which is the possibility of adding a bike skills park, director Karen Martin said during the first board meeting of the year.
Martin told board members, which included Tammy Knox, who joined the board after Mike Babbitt decided to step down at the end of last year, about several ideas the department is investigating.
One of them was a bike skills park.
Martin said she would be looking this year into the possibility of adding the park and would be reaching out to other communities who have experience.
Bike skills parks help teach children how to ride bikes and can offer multiple skill set levels, she said.
One currently exists in Vigo County called Griffin Bike Park. Martin said she and mayor Tom DeBaun will be visiting that location to learn more about its design.
She said she will also be reaching out to a group in Bloomington who build bike skills parks nationwide.
“It’s something we’re trying to do so kids have a place to go,” she told the board. “It’s really a pretty cool thing.”
Among the other projects the department will be looking into are new diamonds, a new athletic facility and an indoor playground that could be coming in the future. The indoor playground was added in Columbus and is particularly popular in the winter, she said.
In other business, the parks department might be altering its tradition of hosting the three elementary schools at the end of the school year because of the difficulty in finding enough high school students to lifeguard during the school day.
Recreation director Trisha Tackett said she struggled finding enough students at the end of the 2018-19 school year.
“Last year was hard,” she said. “We were begging teachers to let kids out of school.”
Last year’s group included a large number of current high school seniors who she said should be available because they will be done with finals when the elementary schools come.
She added that the high school has been “great” to work with but she won’t know how many of last year’s lifeguards will return until the Jan. 31 deadline to reapply.
“That’s finals week, too, so that puts a lot of stress and pressure because the kids want to help us out but then they don’t know if their teachers are going to release them and all of that stuff,” she said.
While the department should be okay staffing enough lifeguards for this year’s swim parties, the board brainstormed possible alternatives.
Gary Nolley, who was voted as this year’s president, asked if they could find more lifeguards from other parks departments elsewhere.
Tackett said they would need to go through their own vetting process despite those employees already having been vetted by their respective department. She added that they would have to be certified by the American Red Cross.