Festival raises $5,000 for fireworks fund

Tiffin Music and Art Festival last weekend raised the $5,000 needed for a fireworks display at Tiffin Park & Recreation Department’s Fourth of July celebration.

Director Steve Dryfuse updated the city park board on funding the celebration and other summer activities during its meeting Thursday.

Dryfuse said he appreciates the fireworks funding for the annual event at Hedges-Boyer Park.

Rusty Vinyl and Friends are to be playing at the pavilion. Among other activities planned are a cornhole tournament, kids’ games, water balloon toss, money hunt and pool games. Fireworks are to begin at 10 p.m.

Dryfuse reviewed daily operations. “General upkeep has been a real challenge this year because of the lack of staff,” he said. “The grass is really just non-stop with the weather.”

Todd Maddox, one of the department’s three employees, works to maintain Hedges-Boyer Park while Dryfuse and Program Director Matt Coleman work to keep the other 12 parks, plus several green spaces, mowed.

“Hedges-Boyer is a top priority because it’s the most used,” Dryfuse said.

Last fall, the board agreed to let parts of three parks “go natural” to save on mowing time and expense. Louisa K. Fast Park and sections of Nature Trails and Highland parks are not being mowed, which has caused questions from residents.

“They’re important but they don’t get heavy use,” Dryfuse said. “It’s difficult to be everywhere.”

“For the budget and staff that we have, you are doing a wonderful job,” said board member Susan Jones.

In addition to mowing and administrative tasks, Dryfuse and Coleman are overseeing the summer youth daycamp program with the assistance of four interns from Tiffin University.

“Matt’s doing a fantastic job with the daycamps,” Dryfuse said.

Children can register online for camps that still have openings. Some of those are bowling, basketball and tennis.

Dryfuse said he assisted with getting the swimming pool opened Tuesday and had a busy day Wednesday, Dryfuse said. The pool is being operated this year by Tiffin-Seneca YMCA.

The board learned the first swimmer this year was a duck.

Grass seeding in the lower level of Hedges-Boyer Park is growing nicely, Dryfuse said, and the area is to be seeded again in the fall.

The area is not being used by ball teams this year, but he said the department is working with Hank & Associates on design of a new ball diamond to be built next year.

Dryfuse said he assisted with planting 31 trees in the downtown streetscape last week and more trees were being planted Thursday.

Regarding a request from resident Patrick Huffman to put an archery range in a city park, board members opposed the idea because of a city ordinance prohibiting archery within the city limits unless it takes place within an enclosure.

“Our department really isn’t in a position to pay for that type of enclosure,” Dryfuse said.

He said the ordinance is designed to protect residents, but he said it would be possible for the resident to raise funds to build the enclosure similar to the way a group is raising funds to build the dog park.

Board members agreed there is no money in the budget for that project, but suggested he contact the Seneca County Park District with the idea so it’s outside the city limits.

Jones raised a question about long-term maintenance of the dog park to prevent the department from having to take on financial and maintenance responsibilities in the future after the novelty fades.

The board suggested possibly a long-term lease or other type of agreement with the nonprofit organization.

“Something where legally it’s still the parks’ land, but in practicality it’s not our responsibility,” she said.

Steven Kisan, intern in the mayor’s office, offered to research how other dog parks in the area operate.

Dryfuse said dog park organizers still are in the fundraising phase and are working with Clouse Construction on the design. The water feature is to be a “splash pad.”

The board’s next meeting is at 11:30 a.m. July 11 in the municipal building conference room.