New officers focus on summer program

COLUMBIA CITY — A new slate of officers was installed for the new year at Monday’s Columbia City Parks Board meeting. Officers include: Kelley Sheiss, president; Mark Ellis, vice-president; Mauri Bordner, recorder; and Dennis Warnick, member. Tammy Nickolson will serve as an intern from Leadership Whitley County.With the resignation of member Michael Malcolm, effective Dec. 31, the board continues to seek a replacement. In other business, registration for softball and baseball is ongoing with Feb. 26 the final date to sign up. This year, participants can look forward to many positive changes in the program.“I think it’s (softball/baseball) going to be a really neat change, people are going to like it,” Parks Director Mark Green said. “There are seven people on the softball board and seven on the baseball board and our point is to obviously help our league programs get better — we have more collaboration with the high school because we have coaches on both boards.”Nickolson, also a member of the softball board, said opening day for summer leagues will include a parade which will begin at the Whitley County Family YMCA. More details will follow at a later date.“We will have flags and somebody to sing the National Anthem with possibly the Tin Caps,” Nickolson saidEvery person who registers for softball/baseball will receive one free ticket to a Tin Caps game.“If parents want to buy additional tickets, they can,” Green said. We will have a Columbia City day at a Tin Caps game — the Tin Caps is also one of our sponsors this year, so they will be coming down with their mascot.”Lob ball and T-ball players will receive their uniforms on opening day.“There will be a lot of excitement going on down at the park that day,” Green said.In old business, extending a new bridge in Blue River Trail is in the horizon which will follow along the river and connect to DeMoney Grimes Funeral Home.“I have a meeting next week with an engineer to discuss not only plans for the bridge, but also the environmental study to get started this year,” Green said. “Once that is done, we can pursue with building it, but I’m not sure how long that process will take.”Grants are still being pursued for the bridge which will be for pedestrians only.Green reported on a fence which was recently installed by the T-ball fields to eliminate people from parking and driving on the grass.In old business, the current condition of the pavilion in Morsches Park was briefly discussed, along with maintenance and alternatives for the Burnworth Pool.“We appreciate the public’s use of the parks facilities — we encourage it,” Sheiss said. “And in doing so, we are trying to provide the best facilities with the resources we have available at this time with a limited budget.”The father/daughter dance is 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 11 at The First Church of God. Admission is $25 per father/daughter, and $5 for each additional daughter. A dinner will be served, along with pictures by Chad Moore and entertainment. Tickets are available at the Columbia City Parks Department and City Hall.“We have 220 registered right now for the father/daughter dance,” Green said.