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Bronson to hire Parks employee

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By Sean Arnold

The Bronson Town Council unanimously approved a motion to begin a search to hire a part-time Town employee to help with upkeep and maintenance at James H. Cobb Park.

Mayor Bruce Greenlee said the demand for help at the Park has increased as more Town resources are required for its new sewer system upgrades and expansions as well as other infrastructure projects, making the Public Works Department less available to help at the Park.

The Parks and Recreation department has also seen an increase in work due to additions to the Park and an increase in sports teams and child participation.

“It was determined at a recent town hall meeting that a town employee could possibly help us, especially in the summer,” Greenlee said. “It’ll allow the Parks and Rec director (Curtis Stacy) to get more done behind the desk and maybe spend a little more time reaching out to people that can assist the Parks department.”

The Council suggested the primary role of the employee would be in the upkeep of the ball fields, while he or she could also contribute on numerous projects at the Park or for the Town in general.

Stacy discussed the difficulty in overseeing activities at both the Park and the schools, where Bronson Parks and Recreation (BPR) basketball takes place. He also noted the increasing administrative demand that comes with the the growth in the BPR leagues, which could have up to 12 teams at a time in season.

BPR is currently transitioning into the soccer, baseball, tee ball and softball seasons, with opening day set for March 25. It begins registration for football over the summer, when it also holds a camp.

“There’s a lot of different things that could go wrong if they’re not paid attention to on a consistent basis,” Stacy said. “And we’re adding things to the park that have to be kept up. It’s a sign of growing pains.”

While supporting the hire of a part-timer, Greenlee urged Stacy and the Town to continue recruiting volunteer help for concessions and other areas at BPR events, noting the financial burden to the Town and strains put on staff as they’re forced to log overtime in order to work events. Stacy said it’s a challenge to find reliable help, and he’s attempting to create a board that will serve all sports in hopes of bolstering participation from the community. Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts and Councilman Aaron Edmundson added that Town staff are still required to be present to help manage volunteers.

“You have to be mindful of whether the help you get can be dependable,” Stacy said. “Like I’ve said, it’s up to the community. They want things, and the Council’s been good about getting things done and giving them things. So at some point the community has to help support what the council’s given them.”

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In other Bronson business, the Town has received a $375,000 Small County Outreach Program grant for the resurfacing of Picnic Street, which leads to James H. Cobb Park. The funds will also go toward a sidewalk along the street.

The Town also approved a proposal to put on a father-daughter dance as part of a spring fling community outreach program. Details are forthcoming.

BPR’s spring sports opening day – for tee-ball, baseball, softball and soccer – will be held Saturday, March 25, beginning at 9 a.m. Games will start at 10 a.m.

The Bronson Town Council next meets on March 20 at the Dogan S. Cobb Municipal Building at 7 p.m.