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December 4, 2013 - Vol. 108, No. 22
TOY TOTALS ON THE RISE! For the 28th season, McDonald’s of Frankenmuth was the headquarters to kick off the Saginaw County Toys For Tots drive. Well over $10,000 in cash, in addition to trailers full of toys, filled McDonald’s from 6am until 11pm, when the toys were moved to a secure warehouse. On Monday evening, the Frankenmuth Jaycees and other area Jaycees sorted the toys to prepare them for distribution later this month. The drive is supported by the U.S. Marine Corps. Above, Frankenmuth F+VFW Post #2725 members Jerry Sohn, left, and Larry Schluckebier, assist in piling up the toys. The county goal is $70,000-plus in toys and cash. Tony D’Anna, the McDonald’s owner organizer for the past 28 years, said the drive is on target to reach its goal. (News photo)
Recreation Dept. revives "Friends of the Park" for tree replacement
No ice skating this season at Kern
The Frankenmuth Parks and Recreation Commission enjoyed a year filled with many programs, events and activities in the community.
Facility rentals and overall park use was up slightly over 2012 and the commission oversaw a few capital improvements.
One of the city’s biggest concerns is the loss of trees, especially ash trees. The Emerald Ash Borer continues to devastate mid-Michigan trees and the parks and recreation and city look to replace them.
This fall, 25 more trees were planted in the parks, with a majority of the money for this work provided by the Friends of the Parks funding campaign.
“Little by little, we are replacing hundreds of shade trees that died over the past several years,” Frankenmuth Parks and Recreation Department Director Daren Kaschinske said.
In Heritage Park, work continues in paving driveway sections on the east side the park. The gravel drives are being poured with concrete. The majority of funding for this project was provided by the Frankenmuth Lions Club.
“We hope to continue to pave the driveway east of the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion in the future as funds permit,” Kaschinske said.
The Woodcarver’s Pavilion at Zehnder Park was recently restored. Frankenmuth Clock Company owner Mike Nestell led the project, with help from the Woodcarver’s Guild and a grant from the Frankenmuth Community Foundation.
The carving on the pavilion posts were restored, a contractor was hired to replace the cedar shake roof and funding from the Frankenmuth Jaycees and Frankenmuth Area Fine Arts Council allowed the volunteers to refinish the stamped concrete around the structure.
“Mike also had his staff do a lot of other work, staining and repairing other parts of the pavilion,” Kaschinske pointed out. “The end result should bring this structure back to its original state and highlight it as a unique artistic display in town.”
Earlier this year, the commission voted to not set up and open the ice rink inside of the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion.
Last winter, the parks and recreation had just 24 days of skating and hockey available. That was less than many years and that corresponded to lower attendance – a total of 253 skaters for the season.
“The commission opted to use the building for other sports, rather than ice skating, this winter,” Kaschinske said.
Setting up the rink involved erecting the dasher boards, laying down a thick liner, filling the liner and rink with water and waiting for the water to set up in a building that does not cool down quickly.
The commission has a short list of projects, identified for completion as funding becomes available. They include:
* Extension of the Cass River walk in Heritage Park to the Holzbruecke (covered bridge);
* Repaving the existing river walk in Heritage Park. The approximate one mile path is nearly 20 years old;
* Expanding and improving bicycle paths in the city. Spicer Engineering recently released a study identifying cycling lanes;
* Installing nets in the Kern Pavilion to be able to use it for sports;
* Renovation of the Memorial Park boat launch, located off East Tuscola Road.
Pavilion and park rentals were a big part of the parks and recreation’s activities in 2013.
The Harvey Kern Community Pavilion had six, short-term rentals (1-2 days) and a dozen long-term leases of three days or more. Overall, the pavilion was rented 46 days, in addition to the parks and recreation’s Fall Harvest Day activity.
The $2.2 million, 30,000-square foot building was opened in 2005 and was home to 19 major events in 2013, from the Bringin’ Back the 80s Fest in mid-April through the Michigan’s Big Country Fest in mid-October.
There was only one new event rental in 2013 when the Nexstar Dance Competition rented the Kern Pavilion May 24-26 for its dancing and music event.
Other facility rentals included 40 reservations for the picnic pavilions, 25 in the Rose Garden (mostly weddings), 12 dates at the Palmer Schau Platz, 51 rentals of the Frankenmuth Scout Building and 10 weekend softball or baseball diamond tournaments.
Other special events include the Mother/Son Outing, Daddy/Daughter Dance, boater safety, Pitch, Hit and Run, Hershey’s Track and Field, Punt, Pass and Kick, Turkey Challenge, Frankenmuth Nights at Splash Village, Walk to School Day, Kern Community Recreation Weekends and Michigan Outdoor Recreational Safety (MORS).
A number of adult and youth recreational programs were offered, including volleyball, softball and new for 2013, co-ed kickball while youth sports included basketball and baseball.
Administratively, there were a few new items of interest for 2013.
The commission revived the “Friends of the Parks” program following a 10-year hiatus. A fundraising campaign program, the Friends are currently concentrating their efforts on tree planting. The group’s goal this first year is $5,000.
The commission also formed a Festivals Committee which will meet approximately four times annually. This group was formed to discuss issues that relate particularly to festivals and large events at the Kern Pavilion. The committee includes three commission members and a representative from each of the organizations that run local festivals.
In April, Janelle Wright was hired as a new parks and recreation staff person in charge of recreation. Wright, from Birch Run, was previously working at the Freeland SportsZone.
The commission was chaired by Ed Foltz for the past three years. Per the articles of operation, Foltz was required to step down and is now a commission member. Dan Bade was elected the chairman. The rest of the commission includes Vice-Chair Anne Webb, Secretary Willie Beck, City Council representative Gary Zeilinger, Township Board representative Tom Bierlein, School Board representative Dan Wortman, and members Ed Bergman, Joe Chowaniec, Sue Daoust and Foltz and ex-officio members City Manager Charlie Graham, Civic Events Council representative Brent Weiss and Chamber of Commerce representative Jamie Furbush.