Members of the Town of Palisade’s Park & Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) met Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Civic Center for a monthly update.
Public Works Director Frank Watt and Recreation and Events Coordinator Sarah Brooks represented the town staff, with Trustee Cody Butters, committee members Ashley Cholas, Charlotte Wheeler, Dave Fisher, Winslow Robertson, Desa Loughman and citizen Bill Hoffmann also attending.
East Orchard Mesa residents Ron and Susan Lashley were present for the first part of the meeting, as town recreation intern Tristan Hiraishi presented a short introduction to the growing sport of pickleball.
The sport is gaining in popularity with rec departments across the country. The Lashleys recounted their experiences learning and playing in the Grand Junction rec department league, and they approached Palisade’s Recreation Coordinator Sarah Brooks about putting pickleball into the fall and winter programming.
Brooks expressed interest in the program, but pointed out that it would have to have some measure of commitment from the public to justify the additional expense of purchasing equipment and scheduling staff time. Suggestions were made by committee members on how to put together a committed set of players, and agreed that more discussion would be necessary before adding it permanently to the program schedule.
Brooks also announced that intern Tristan Hiraishi had been hired on a part-time basis for the remainder of 2014 to help fill the void left by the resignation of assistant Sabrina Jackman earlier this summer. Hiraishi will divide his time between helping Brooks with upcoming programs and working in the parks with the Public Works crew.
A shortfall in revenues was announced, mainly due to some unsuccessful programming offerings over the last few months. It was generally agreed that the offerings had been worth the try, and a little more was learned about the interests of the local population.
Jim Beougher to retire
Jim Beougher, a near 30-year employee of the Public Works department, will be retiring on Sept. 26, and a picnic lunch will be informally hosted by the Town of Palisade at Riverbend Park on Jim’s last day. Citizens and town employees are invited to stop by after 11:30 a.m. to wish him well. And, conveniently, just in time for hunting season!
Director Watt outlined the plan for the reconstruction of the road on the 38 Road hill, an upcoming improvement to the Fruit and Wine Byway, with wider lanes and the addition of a separate bike lane off to one side of the road.
Skate Park progress
Committee members also reviewed the progress so far on the skate park reconstruction, and discussed where to go from here. With the park once again open for business, contributions into the jars placed around town have diminished to the point where it was decided to pull the jars for awhile. Desa Loughman, who had been unofficially in charge of the contribution jars, thanked the community for their support, describing how many different people had contributed regularly and generously to the reconstruction effort.
Certificates of Appreciation were presented to Fox Benton and Jeremiah Frazier at the Aug. 12 meeting of the Board of Trustees. They did a fantastic job of getting the park rebuilt after the vandalism last spring.
Brooks announced that the City of Grand Junction is interested in partnering with Palisade on the construction of a new, permanent skate park facility in the next few years. If the towns worked together, they should be able to get better pricing on design and construction of new parks for each town.
Brooks enlightened the group on some new program possibilities for the coming fall and winter months including archery and a beginning golf program called SNAG – Start New At Golf. Although each program would require an outlay of cash for equipment and training, there are grants available as well.
She also explained some of the difficulties in designing recreation programs.
There was also a preliminary discussion on adding a footrace to next summer’s schedule, with a suggestion to pair it with the Brews & Cruise festival. A longer bike race had been suggested along with the festival, but PRAC members decided that it would require more in the way of manpower and volunteers than they could take on. They agreed to leave a bike race up to other organizers, but will look further into a footrace.
Brooks and Watt reported on the hike into the Palisade watershed, held on Aug. 25, for about a dozen attendees. They plan to offer the hike on a regular basis, at least once a year.
Garden dedication, Sept. 10
Dedication of the Community Garden will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. at the garden on Fourth Street. PRAC members are invited to attend and anyone wishing to speak is welcome. A representative of the Honeybee Festival committee will also be there to officially donate the beehive shelter to the garden.
Before that, however, Palisade dogs were invited to the annual Dog Days at the Palisade Pool on Tuesday, Sept. 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. The annual event is fun for everyone, especially the dogs! This year’s proceeds will benefit the Roice Hurst shelter.
Fall is the time for the NFL’s Punt, Pass and Kick contest, Sept. 23, from 4:30 – 6 p.m., if you have a child that is interested in participating. Sarah Brooks has more information, give her a call at the Town of Palisade, 464-5602.
Trick or Treat Street
Start thinking about your costumes…it’s just a little less than two months till Trick or Treat Street and the Halloween Carnival, on Friday, Oct. 24. Anyone wishing to offer a vehicle to participate in the Touch A Truck, or who would be able to help out at the carnival is asked to contact the Town of Palisade. Donations of candy are always welcome too, lots of candy is distributed throughout the afternoon and evening.
Donations are also being accepted from now on for PRAC’s annual Christmas basket project. Other suggestions for a Giving Tree were also discussed, with more on those subjects to follow as the season approaches.
Due to scheduling conflicts, the next regular meeting of PRAC will be held on Thursday, Sept. 18, instead of the regular fourth Thursday of the month. The Sept. 28 meeting will be held at 6:30 in the Civic Center meeting room at 341 W. Seventh Street in Palisade.