As Marysville prepares to celebrate its 13th annual Day in the Park July 13, city council members have started discussions on how to improve the city's parks and how much commitment should be made to the effort.
Councilman J.R. Rausch, a member of the parks and recreation committee, told council June 27 that Mayor John Gore, Public Service Director John Mitchell, Recreation/Event Coordinator Amanda Morris, council Vice President Tracy Richardson and Ray Fleming, a former chairman of the parks and recreation commission, had recently toured all of Marys-ville's parks.
"We have a lot of maintenance items that maybe some of us weren't aware of," Rausch said. "It's also time to look at upgrades at each location."
Rausch said the parks and recreation committee is supposed to come up with a vision of what is needed and it's the job of city council and the administration to accept potential plans and find ways to carry them out.
"We're getting to a point, where for a couple of years now, we haven't spent a lot of money on park upgrades and maintenance other than mowing the grass," Rausch said.
Gore agreed, and encouraged council members to take their own tour of the parks.
"We call things parks that are really just open space," he said. "They're nice and we can do things with them. If we want this community to grow and we want to be proud of where we live, we have to make that commitment."
Rausch wants to complete the tour this month, since the committee will be putting its five-year capital improvement program together and the administration will start its budget process soon.
Councilman Mark Reams said there are parks projects that have never been completed that the city needs to commit to finishing.
"For example, Mill Valley -- people moved in there several years ago. Their kids were born, their kids have grown up, they're graduating from high school and moved out and we still haven't finished the park," Reams said. "We've got to make that commitment and finish what we started."
Reams and Richardson agreed that the money for such projects is not going to come from parkland development funds.
"I think, collectively, if we partner with the administration, we can come up with a way to fund it," Richardson said. "If we don't approve the funding, there's not going to be any money to enhance and continue to make our parks viable and attractive for the community."
Rausch said he hopes all involved will be able to "come together with a common vision that we're going to agree on."
Gore pointed out that a good parks system makes a community attractive.
"We need to be fiscally responsible, there's no question," he said. "But you also have to spend money to make money and in order to enhance this community, to make it a place people want to come to, our parks are very important in that area."
As for Day in the Park, Public Information Officer Anna Krutowskis said the annual event is scheduled from noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at American Legion Park.
"We have added several new things to this year's event, including a petting zoo provided by our local FFA, horse and carriage rides, clowns, balloon artists, face painting," she said.
In addition, there will be live music, free admission to the municipal pool from noon to 4 p.m., free hot dogs, water and ice cream.
"It's a great opportunity for families to enjoy our parks' amenities," Krutowskis said.