Funds sought for parks programs

Due to the lack of revenue, the city of Tiffin was forced to make cuts to programs such as the city pool and July 4 fireworks, but the community is working to raise funds to keep these services open this summer.

Employees of Real Living Generations Realty, who kicked off a fundraising campaign Friday, and the Music and Art Festival have committed to help raise the $42,000 needed to open the pool and have a fireworks display.

“We’re doing it because the kids need something in the summer to do,” said Jan Betz of Real Living Realty. “And it certainly is a big part of the community – Hedges-Boyer Park and the pool and the fireworks – it wouldn’t be summer without them.”

Betz said the realty company is going to contact local businesses and residents, in a “personal, face-to-face campaign.”

Tiffin Parks Director Steve Dryfuse said the fireworks display costs about $10,000, but an additional $2,000 also is needed to pay people working the event.

To operate the pool, the city will need about $30,000, and he also said he expects to shorten the season and hours of operation.

“We just appreciate the efforts that the reality group is doing,” Dryfuse said. “We realize, in the department, how valuable (the pool and the fireworks) are to the community. We definitely want to see these services restored.”

Initially it was unclear whether the city would be able to open due to the AFSCME union contract that would not allow the city to hire seasonal employees, while AFSCME had workers laid off.

But in December, AFSCME agreed to allow the city a one-year exemption from the policy, and allow the hire part-time employees for the pool, as long as the pool breaks even or earns a profit, Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said.

“I’m very glad they stepped forward and were gracious enough to give us this exemption,” he said.

The city also is hoping to work out an agreement with a third party that would run the pool, which would save the city money.

“I’m very confident that the money’s going to be raised,” Montz said. “I just think that it really shows that the Tiffin community, in a time of need, really does come together for things like this.”

The city has until May 1 to raise funds for the swimming pool and until June 1 for the fireworks display, he said.

“Real Living Generations has stepped up to the plate, and they’re going to do a lot of fundraising for it,” he said. “The Music and Arts Festival is going to donate all of their proceeds towards it, so we’ve got two real big fundraisers that are already being set up and going to town on it.”

Those who wish to donate can send checks to: Tiffin Pool and Fireworks Fund c/o Real Living Generations Realty, 25 Melmore St., and walk-in donations also are acceptable. The parks department and mayor’s office also are accepting donations.

“We’re community minded; we love this community,” said Leslie Dundore of Real Living Realty. “This is our way of giving back to the community. We want this pool to be open for the kids, for families, for everybody. The fireworks are enjoyed by so many people that’s become a huge thing that fireworks display. That’s why we’re doing this; nothing more. We just want to get this money, since we see the city has budget constraints, this is our way of helping out.”