“We should let me do the meetings all the time!” Parks Department Director Karen Martin joked Wednesday.

Martin gave the recreation report, sports report, and maintenance report as Recreation Director Trisha Tackett and Sports/Maintenance Director Chris Stephens were both absent. Park Board President Gary Nolley was also absent from the meeting.

The remaining four board members approved adding COVID language to the Park Shelter Rules and Regulations.

The COVID-19 Warning reads “We have taken enhanced health and safety measures for you, our guests and staff members. Please follow all posted instructions while visiting the City of Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department.”

“An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people gather,” the language continued. “COVID-19 is a contagious virus that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the CDC, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. By visiting City of Shelbyville Parks and City of Shelbyville facilities, you voluntarily assume all risks related to COVID-19.”

For recreation, Martin reported the Parks Department has extended the deadline for applications for summer jobs. The department has not received many applications.

“We talked to the Indiana Parks and Rec Association, and they’ve said because this is such a different year, every county is seeing this,” she said. “People aren’t getting their apps in ahead of time like they have in the past even though we have deadlines, simply because they’re not at school and not aware these applications are going on now.”

“They’re not thinking summer right now, they’re thinking if they’re going to have prom, and things like that,” she continued.

For sports, Martin reported, “we haven’t forgotten about the Pickleball people.”

The department is looking to install a button that would allow players to raise and lower the nets versus having maintenance members use a drill for that task. They’re also looking at a solution for the lighting situation.

“They can not get to our light box that controls the lights, and nor do we want them to get to our light box, so we’re looking at simple answers,” Martin said.

Also for sports, Martin said they’re looking to host a softball camp they weren’t able to hold last year because of COVID.

Lastly for sports, Martin reported they’ve extended the deadline to register for volleyball, which will now start the March 9.

“We’ve asked the teams that have signed up if they’re willing to [play],” Martin said. “In fact, we actually have three more teams that want to get in.”

“If anyone else wants to join in either co-ed or women’s volleyball league, we’ll be starting the Tuesday after next so get your money in,” she continued.

Under maintenance, Martin reported the department is looking at the cost of new roofing at the parks and expanding the Sunrise Park Concession Stand.

“If you’ve ever been in it, it’s like this tiny little dungeon where you’re afraid a mouse or the spiders will eat you,” she said.

Martin also reported they’re getting quotes for new tires for a van and quotes for a new truck.

Under New Business, Martin reported they’ve re-opened the gym for basketball, pickleball and walking.

“We’ve got a new, younger group of players coming in to play [pickelball],” she said. “I call them young because I’m twice that age.”

“The walkers were really excited to get back in, and I think it’s great to have them back,” Martin added. “They’re excited to socialize and see new people.”

Martin reported that they’ve booked three bands for three Music in the Park events. These bands were supposed to play last year but didn’t get to because the concerts were cancelled.

In place of the typical fourth Music in the Park event, the department has applied for a grant to bring a theater group to Blue River Memorial Park. More information will be available at a later date.

Martin also reported somebody knocked out a light post at Blue River Memorial Park and the department is working on getting it replaced.

“Those poles take a while to replace,” Martin said. “You have to order them, it takes a while for them to make them, and then a while for them to get here, and then a while for them to be put up and installed. The last one took the better part of a year to get accomplished.”

Lastly, Park Board Vice President Gary Bowen thanked Indiana Grand and Knauf Insulation for donating to the department’s Holiday Lights at the Park program.

“I would personally like to thank Indiana Grand and Knauf for their generous donation for the lights at the park this year,” he said. “I thought it went very well.”

“Another topic on that, what I’m willing to do to keep the ball rolling – Sharp’s Trophies by Mack is donating $100 and challenging the rest of the businesses in Shelbyville to match or beat our donation so we can make the light show at Shelbyville one of the best in the state.”

(Bowen and his wife own Sharp’s Trophies by Mack.)

Martin said the light show was expensive.

“Several people don’t realize what it costs for those,” she said. “With the $20,000 we had last year you saw what we were able to do. It costs a lot to buy those lights and it costs a lot to maintain those lights.”