Recreation program expanding
With a hardhat and gold-colored shovel, Eudora Parks and Recreation Director Tammy Hodges officially broke ground Tuesday at the site of the Eudora Community and Aquatic Center.
Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle, City Administrator Cheryl Beatty, representatives from Vanum Construction and BG Consultant representatives Cecil Kingsley and project architect Jay Zimmerschied joined Hodges to celebrate the official start of construction.
The groundbreaking marks the continued expansion of the parks and recreation department expansion under Hodges.
A week earlier, Hodges received support from the city council on four different proposals, which either added to the department or furthered its ongoing initiatives.
"We're going in the right direction, a positive direction," Hodges said.
The first nod of support came from a unanimous vote to begin construction on the facility.
Since the city council vote Dec. 11, Vanum workers began digging around the pool site located near Laws Field.
At the council meeting, Hodges next gained council approval for new equipment for local parks.
To pay for the new equipment, Hodges asked for use of $15,000 originally earmarked to replace fencing on a tennis court that was ultimately removed to make way for the recreation complex.
The equipment consisted of a climbing wall and backhoe digger for Bluejacket Park and an arch swing for Pilla Park at Seventh and Main streets.
"We wanted a climbing wall for the kids because that seems to be the new thing," Hodges said.
The city agreed to spend $8,134.85 on the playground equipment.
Hodges also wanted to add more general features to city parks.
In the same proposal, Hodges asked the council for permission to purchase a canopy for Bluejacket Park, new trash receptacles, four new signs to label the parks and a new basketball goal for Pilla Park for $5,147.
Beatty assured the council the signs in question were made of strong material.
"It's not indestructible, but it's sturdy," Beatty said.
The council agreed to the purchases, which left $2,987.23 of the original $15,000.
"I trust your judgment," Councilman Jeff Peterson said.
Directly following the park improvements, the council approved Hodge's request to re-roof the dugout at the Babe Ruth field.
"I'd like to get done before spring so we can have matching dugouts," Hodges said.
Hodge's final business for the council concerned a reorganization of her department.
Earlier in the year, Hodges received council approval to advertise for a parks supervisor.
After taking applications, Hodges realized the job is worth higher pay than she originally planned.
Hodges requested an hourly wage of $16 per hour for the position -- up from $10 to $12 per hour.
"If we were just looking at a maintenance-type person, I see that $10 to $12 per hour is fine. It's sufficient," Hodges said. "I kind of see this position as a park administrator position, where this person is going to have more responsibilities than just maintenance."
The parks supervisor's administrative duties would leave Hodges free to oversee the construction of the recreation center.
The park supervisor could also be involved in the planning of new parks for the city, she said.
Hodges told the council the recreation department could afford the higher wage if it consolidated a maintenance position vacated by Ian Mater and a current quarter-time position.
"I really think you ought to go for it myself," Pyle said. "This city is growing and we've been lagging way behind insofar as recreation is concerned."
Peterson also supported the idea.
"I think it speaks really well for the organization," Peterson said.
The council voted to fund the park supervisor's position at $16 per hour.