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Sunday, May 1, 2016

More requests for parks

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Walt Moore explains how his handmade birdhouses will bring blue birds and other small birds to the Brazil City Parks. Pictured, from left, are (back) Brad Deal, Bill Houck, Caroline McCullough, (front) Walt Moore, Ruthann Jeffries and Linda Messmer. Melinda Quasius Photo.
As residents and outside groups recognize the value of the Brazil City Parks, the Brazil City Parks Board has entertained more and more requests for permission to use the parks.

At the April board meeting, members of the board had to weigh new requests with past commitments and upkeep costs because of city budget cuts.

Todd Brackman asked the board for permission to have weekly t-ball practice for small children at Wheeler Park. The board could not promise the team the park's small diamond every week, but said the usage was in-line with the parks' purpose.

Brackman also said he would paint over the gang graffiti at the park.

Tyler Fisher, treasurer of the Brazil Lions Club, said the group wanted to use Forest Park again this year for a car show. Last year, 55 car entries and the sale of concessions earned the Lions a large sum of money.

Fisher said the group wanted to use the Rotary shelter as its concession stand, as well. The board approved the request for use of Forest Park on June 14, but said the Lions would have to check with the City Clerk to find out if Rotary already had the shelter reserved.

Some shelters are reserved a year in advance, or reserved on the same date every year for family reunions and similar events.

A 5k race at Craig Park was canceled, the board announced. Habitat for Humanity wanted to hold the race April 19, but there was not enough time to organize the event. The board was also concerned with having enough time and resources to get the cross-country course ready for the event. The race may be rescheduled for a later date.

Another event tabled by the board was a request by the Brazilbillies walking group to have a fundraiser in one of the parks. The group wanted to raise money for the 3-Day Race in Chicago to support cancer research.

Because no representative appeared at the meeting, and the group's status as a non-profit organization was in question, the event was tabled.

Local retiree Walt Moore asked the board for permission to put his handmade birdhouses up in the three city parks. The small wooden structures were designed to attract small birds, like blue birds and chickadees.

He brought sample houses for the board members to put up at home. The board thanked Moore for his work and gave the OK to put the houses up.

During the March meeting, the board told the Southern Indiana Racing Association that they would not be able to have their long-running go-kart race this summer because of track wear and tear and the lack of Rotary backing. They were also concerned the SIRA did not meet the criteria of non-profit established by the board.

After a story ran in The Brazil Times explaining the decision, it came to the board's attention that the Indy Karting Series had already had a commitment with the parks to hold a race May 18.

Past President Ruthann Jeffries had made a written comment last May assuring IKS they could run at Forest Park again this year.

IKS does not have a contract with Rotary this year, but is giving all proceeds to a group that sends diabetic children to camp. Last year, 22 children were able to attend diabetes camp because of the proceeds from the race.

Park Superintendent Bill Houck said he was pleased with the condition IKS left the track and park in after their race, but voiced concern that the park budget could not continue to repair the track from races with the current budget crunch.

Although the board felt go-kart racing could not continue in the future, they decided to honor the written promise to IKS for 2008.

In response to denying permission to SIRA, Jeffries said she compared the situation to Rotary's annual carnival, saying if the same principals did not apply, anyone with a carnival would have to be given the go-ahead to use the park.

The board's concerns with the budget come after city officials told each department to cut 20-28 percent of their annual operating budget in an effort to balance out Brazil's deficit.

At the end of the meeting, the parks' budget was slashed by 18 percent, including personnel, for the year 2008. If any more were cut from the budget, there would not be enough money to operate the Forest Park pool.

Now, the board will wait for city and state approval of the budget.

The next City Parks Board meeting will be Wednesday, May 7, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of Brazil City Hall.

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