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Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Hazel: Event coordinator not needed

Staff could share responsibilities

By William Kincaid
CELINA - Mayor Jeff Hazel said the city at this point does not need an event coordinator or manager to run the Harley Jones Rotary Memorial Amphitheater in the Bryson Park District along Lake Shore Drive.
Rather, those duties will be handled, at least in the immediate future, by various department heads and city officials, he said.
City council's buildings and grounds committee met on Monday night to discuss park infrastructure maintenance, including the amphitheater that's being funded by a $1.2 million state capital line-item grant secured by then-Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina.
Most of the work should be completed next month, according to safety service director Tom Hitchcock.
Some members of the public have asked if the city would utilize an event coordinator or amphitheater manager, Hazel said.
"We've never had an amphitheater before, and we've never been at that level of knowing what we're going to do," Hazel said. "We're not out there trying to market it to see what venues and events we can get in because No. 1 we don't know where we're at in the overall scheme of things."
That arrangement could change in the future, however, Hazel said.
Councilman June Scott asked who's going to be the go-to person to handle requests to rent the amphitheater for events such as weddings.
The city already has a process for renting various facilities, Hazel said. For instance, Grand Lake Marathon officials coordinate with public works for road closures and customer accounts to rent the city tent in Lakeshore Park.
"Right now when somebody wants to rent a shelter house or the tent, they would go to our customer accounts supervisor, which handles those reservations," Hazel said. "In all honesty, we have not defined a specific position and/or individual that would work at coordinating (such events). … We don't have an event coordinator internally at this point. I'm not saying it won't build to that."
The city needs to come up with a new rental form for the amphitheater, Hazel added.
"It's different. It's not just a shelter house, it's a major facility," Hazel said "There's a sound system in there. There's lighting in there."
Councilman Mike Sovinski said the safety service director should handle reservation requests since he oversees the city's numerous departments.
Until recently, The Bryson Park District - a swath of land encompassing Mercelina, Pullman Bay and Lakeshore parks - had remained largely undeveloped after city officials in early 2014 had purchased the Mercelina Mobile Court and the former Versa Pak property for $2.94 million. The city later had the roughly 8 acres of new parkland cleared of structures and debris and returned to grassland.
But next year, citizens can look forward to a completed amphitheater with a total seating capacity of 4,000 people, a nearby restroom, a splash pad and probably some basketball courts, Hazel has said.
As more structures, walkways and playground equipment are put into place, maintenance costs will rise, Hazel noted, adding public works employees, led by superintendent Joe Wolfe, are responsible for that aspect of The Bryson Park District.
Wolfe, though, believes additional costs will be minimal the first few years. Park development will lead to more trash to dump and more concrete to rid of geese feces and restrooms to be cleaned on a regular basis, he said. Also, his employees will use more materials such as trash bags and fuel.
"Really, the mowing the grass is nothing," he said. "It's just going to take some more man-hours, basically, to get all this stuff done. Do we need to hire another full-time person? No. We can do it with seasonals because it's going to be seasonal use."
Wolfe also noted that city officials will maintain high standards for the new park.
"We all know that when we get this park done, it's going to be the showcase of our community, so we're not going to be able to mow it the way it's been mowed the last few years. It's got to be mowed more frequently," he said, adding it also will require more weed treatment and edging.
During the regular city council meeting that followed the committee meeting, councilors set a parks and recreation meeting for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 24 before the next regular council meeting to discuss a potential grant and playground equipment.
In other business, council members met in executive session to discuss pending and/or imminent court action and confidential business information of an applicant seeking economic-development assistance. No action was expected.
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