Warsaw Parks and Rec to Offer Program Gift Certificates

City of Warsaw Parks & Recreation Department will start offering gift certificates for its programs and activities next year.
At the Parks Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, Recreation Director Sheila Wieringa said, “We would like to start offering gift certificates for activities and programs. Basically, what  would happen is, grandma, aunt, whoever comes in, they want to give the gift of our programs and activities to someone – a child, an adult, anyone who would do our activities – and they would come and pay us for that.”
The certificates don’t have any cash value so once they’re paid for they would have to be used for registration fees, not for rentals “or anything like that,” she said.
Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer said they checked with the clerk-treasurer’s office “and they’re fine with us doing this because basically they’re paying for the program to use, and it’s no different than if they were just coming in and paying for the program. It’s just actually gifting the program to somebody at that point.”
He said they would have to use the gift certificate within that year or lose it because it would not be something that would roll over from year to year.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Plummer said.
Board Vice President Steve Haines asked if the gift certificates can be used in any amount, and Wieringa said they could.
Wieringa explained that if someone only used part of the gift certificate to pay for a program or activity, they would not get cash back. They could use the remaining portion of the gift certificate toward another program or activity within that year. The gift certificates could be used toward “any registration fee,” she said.
The Parks Board unanimously approved the program.
Maintenance Director Shaun Gardner reported on the Christmas light display in Central Park.
He said they were turned on Dec. 4 for “Light Up the Night,” but preparations were begun by the Parks Dept. employees in mid-October, going through November until Thanksgiving.
They were able to purchase a few new displays this year thanks to donations from Young Tigers, who run the concessions stand.
“It looks great,” said Board President Bill Baldwin. “You guys do a fantastic job.”
“A lot of work goes into it. Guys aren’t always happy doing it, but they’re happy to see the end results,” Gardner said.
Wieringa said at the “Light Up the Night” event Dec. 4, 500 glow necklaces were given out in the first 15 minutes. “They were gone,” she said.
She estimated they had 1,500 to 2,000 people there. “There was a lot of people. The weather was great for me in December,” she said.
Eisenhower, Jefferson and Leesburg elementary choirs sang for about 20 minutes each.
Wieringa estimated about 600 people attended the Christmas Countdown event Friday, and they gave away 280 goodie bags to children. There were cookies, cocoa, Santa, crafts and cards for soldiers.
“We mailed those out today, so those are on their way to some soldiers who are really going to appreciate those,” she said.
Christmas Countdown was very well attended and went well, she said.
For the 2016 season, Wieringa said they brought in several sponsorships so far, totaling about $6,000.
“I feel like we’re off to a good start with that,” she said.
Diane Quance, city council representative to the Parks Board, asked if the greenway trail that goes from Pike Lake beach to the Kosciusko Community Hospital campus closes at dusk like the park does. She said someone asked her about walking on the trail “like this time of night.” The parks board met at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday but the sun had already set.
Plummer said that as far as he knows, the trail does not close at dusk.
“I don’t know of any ordinance,” he said.
In other business, the Park Board:
• Approved the annual lease with the Kosciusko County Council on the Aging and Aged for the Pete Thorn Center for $1,053 per month, as requested by Executive Director David Neff. Some of that cost is offset by the $26,000 the Parks Department receives from Wayne Township for it, according to Larry Plummer, parks superintendent.
• Was introduced to the new recreation director, Wieringa, and administrative assistant, Heather Frazier.
• Approved Park Board member Rick Paczkowski’s appointment to the Warsaw Plan Commission.
Plummer said that since the city has a full-time engineer and parks board, state statute requires the plan commission to be a nine-member board, including a representative from the parks board.
“I really do think that this is going to be good for the Parks Department. It’s going to give us a liaison between that, our board and my office to let us understand what’s going on with several projects …,” he said.
Quance said Paczkowski will represent the Parks Board on the Plan Commission so it has a voice and a vote on matters like the Buffalo Street project.

(Story By The Times Union)