Oregon council OKs funding for recreation improvements

Kelly J. Kaczala

        The Oregon City Parks and Recreation Commissioner advertised and requested qualification statements from professional architectural and engineering firms to provide engineering services for Oregon’s recreation buildings to design a combined concession/restroom/shelter facility and a press box/storage building to serve the existing William P. Coontz Baseball Complex.
        Letters of interest were received from Buehrer Group Architecture & Engineering, Inc., Munger, Munger & Associates Architects Inc., Sixmo, Inc., and the JDI Group, Inc.
        Buehrer Group Architecture & Engineering Inc. was determined to be the most qualified for the request for the design of the new recreation buildings – Phase 1. City council recently approved the Parks and Recreation Department’s request to move forward with Phase 1 in the amount of $46,800.
        “This is the first phase, but it’s for design and bidding,” said Public Service Director Paul Roman.  “If we proceed to go forward with everything based on the bids, then they have a construction phase, which would cost another $13,000.”
        Also at the meeting, council:
        •Approved an agreement with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) to provide criminal justice information service through the Northwest Ohio Regional Information Systems (NORIS) and records management support for the police division from Jan. 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2023.
        “The NORIS system and records management takes care of our computer records management, property room, reporting system, and all other information we need to gather for our reports,” said Police Chief Brandon Begin. “There was a very slight increase from 2022 to 2023, just over 1 percent, so it is a $340 increase, which is pretty good. And I know they get some grant money that helps keep the costs down for the agencies that use this.”
        In 2021, NORIS completed a redesign of the NORIS data center to consolidate servers and minimize its footprint. Four large high performance servicers have replaced the current servers in the data center. This will also make the maintenance of the data center more efficient. The CJCC was able to repurpose grant funding to pay for the upgrade.
        •Agreed to update and add the job description of Recreation Utility Supervisor in the Recreation Department.
        Tim Borton, the city’s Parks and Recreation commissioner, recommended a revised job description for the Recreation Utility Supervisor position, which has been vacant since 2005.
        “With all the recent growth of programs and recreation facilities, I am requesting that this position once again be filled,” he stated in a letter to city officials.
        Since the position was last filled, the Recreation Department has added the South Soccer Complex, the Splash pad, Fitness Court, bike path areas from Brown Road to Navarre Avenue, ,and have increased tournaments from one or two per year to 20 per year, according to Borton.
        “To offset some of the cost of this position, we will hire fewer seasonal workers per year. This position will also take back the responsibilities of coordinating with contractors performing work on the complex. Currently, this is coordinated by the full-time office staff, which takes time away from their other responsibilities.”
        •Agreed to revise the pay range schedule of the position of Building/Plumbing/Electrical Inspector to create parity with other jurisdictions and assist in retaining current employees and attracting future employees.
        The Commissioner of Building and Zoning and the administration have determined that updating the pay range schedule would enable the city to maintain and preserve a higher standard of inspections.
        “The city has taken the proper action on trying to retail some very qualified individuals we currently have employed that are more or less being cherry picked by other jurisdictions,” said Councilman Dennis Walendzak. “I think the actions we are taking are very appropriate to retain the individuals that we have.”
        •Heard Walendzak ask about possible restrictions of the Freight House Coffee Company seeking a new liquor permit since it is close to a school.
         “With this liquor permit, what are they allowed to do with it - being so close to a school?” asked Walendzak.
        “The D2 is a wine and mixed drink permit,” said Council President Tim Zale. “It can be carried out until 1 a.m.”
        Mayor Mike Seferian said the criteria to request a hearing before the Board of Liquor Control is “very specific.”
         “You can ask for a hearing, but they’ll only consider a hearing if it meets certain criteria,” said Seferian. “Being so close to a school is one of them. You have a legitimate right to ask for a hearing because it does fall within those parameters. We have heard no objections from Oregon schools. We have no negative feedback from them.”         


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