Lisbon considers creating park manager position

LISBON – A village councilman wants to create a part-time park manager position to oversee the community swimming pool/playground and Willow Grove Park.

Joe Morenz made the suggestion at this week’s council meeting, saying he envisions the park manager working 30 hours during the spring and summer and 10 hours per month in the winter writing grant applications seeking funding for the parks.

Morenz said he came up with the idea after pool manager Russ Bowles took another job this summer, requiring Dana Blackburn, the adult lifeguard at the pool, to take over the daily responsibilities. Bowles continued to monitor the pool’s chemical treatment system since he is the only person currently licensed to do so.

Having a park manager on a permanent basis would solve the problem of looking for a pool manager every spring and bring some continuity to operations. “It seems we have trouble hiring someone and making sure someone is there,” Morenz said.

A park manager would also be responsible for developing programs and activities for the pool and park, which Morenz said would increase use of the facilities. “It’s just an idea at this point that I wanted to throw out there,” he said.

There was some confusion at first about how to handle the discussion since Morenz originally wanted to hold an unscheduled park committee meeting following the council meeting. Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner, who serves as clerk, reminded them state law requires 24-hour advance notice of any meeting to the public and news media.

Council President Roger Gallo suggested they instead go behind closed doors in executive session to discuss Morenz’s idea, but Councilman Steve Defilippo said this runs counter to the practice of having committees consider proposals and make recommendations to council as a whole.

The problem was resolved when Morenz brought up his suggestion before the entire council.

In other action, Eloise Traina of the Family Recovery Center told council she never heard back from the village, which was supposed to decide a year ago what to do about a drainage problem affecting the FRC. She is concerned the problem will worsen with construction of a nearby apartment complex by the Columbiana County Counseling Center. Wonner said she would take it to the village’s engineering firm to find out whatever became of its review of the problem.

Resident Paul Preston also asked what had been done about the vacant home on Thomas Road that had been stripped and left in dilapidated condition. Police Chief Mike Abraham said he had yet to get around to taking action but would send letters to the owner and tenant warning them to clean up the property or face being cited into court. He later learned the owner recently died.

Meanwhile, Abraham suggested the village consider taking legal action to raze the home by having it declared a public nuisance and tacking the cost onto the property taxes. Village Solicitor Virginia Barborak said she would also check into whether the property could be included under the county’s housing demolition program.