Salted with Sharks

Parks & Rec Report, June 2013

In Community Alert, Farmers' Market, Open Season on June 14, 2013 at 12:15 am

By Emily Votruba

ELBERTA LIBRARY—On June 13, 2013, the Parks and Recreation Commission held its last regular meeting before this year’s Elberta Solstice Festival.

At the beginning of the meeting, Connie Manke, P&R’s president and a longtime, beloved member of the commission, announced her resignation. Connie is moving away from the Village and said she could no longer perform volunteer work for the commission or for Solstice. Everyone present was deeply saddened at this news and several members were moved to tears as Connie read a statement thanking each member of the commission individually with a detailed description of the vital role each had played in the group. In particular Connie called P&R secretary Jennifer Wilkins’s dedication to the Village “inspirational,” saying that Jennifer was proof that one person can make a huge difference in their community. Connie also praised new member Grace Banktson Williams for enthusiastically jumping in and trying new things.

Parks and Rec always needs volunteers, and now it also needs a new member to replace Connie, which all members agreed is impossible. The commission has 9 members, according to the bylaws. It was suggested that perhaps the bylaws should be amended to enlarge membership; that however might make it even harder to achieve a quorum.

The dog poop bag stations needed more bags, and people are still driving on the beach. A quad ATV was seen as far down as Greenpoint; Grace said she’d heard that this vehicle was actually an emergency vehicle dispatched to retrieve a person who had broken their hip. Trucks and other vehicles continue to be operated at the end of the turnaround where the sand is soft, some of them then gunning it up the side of the dune and into the bluff forest. No one had any photographic evidence of the vehicles themselves, just the tire tracks and damage to the dune. Some beachgoers are also apparently doing donuts in the newly graded Elberta Beach parking lot, much to Ken Bonney’s chagrin.

The Commission had a bit of trouble reading the treasurer’s report prepared by Laura Manville, since the Solstice and Farmers’ Market accounts at first appeared to have been combined (they have separate checking accounts), and because the General Ledger Report arrived with confusing circlings and crossings out on it (see below).

Market Master Sue Oseland discussed a Michigan Economic Development Corporation Farmers’ Market grant program she had heard about this week. The deadline is July 1 for applications for up to $50,000 for improvements to a farmers’ market location. Appealing projects include unique and innovative design elements, amenities for patrons and vendors, and spaces that are multi-use, multi-modal, are accessible by different forms of transportation, and have good signage. Money can be used for such things as: business and strategic planning, value added processing and packaging, refrigerated storage, waste management and recycling, transportation and delivery systems, green technology, permanent signage, personnel, marketing and promotions. Sue and P&R liked the idea of a proposal for a permanent composting toilet restroom for the site, as well as signage, bike racks, and a walking platform and boat launch improvement around the pond to take advantage of and highlight the site’s multitransport nature at the crossroads of M-22, the Betsie River, and the Betsie Valley Trail. Think of canoeing to the farmers’ market to pick up your picnic! Someone mentioned that there’s a lot of in-kind match in place already because of the work Ken Bonney has already done in the dock removal. They were a bit stymied as to how they could possibly get a grant together before the deadline, however, all feeling stretched fairly thin ahead of Solstice. If you have grant-writing experience and would like to help out, please contact Sue Oseland at 231-383-5904.

Sue said she needs an additional month of pay for the amount of time she has spent attending trainings for the Double Up Food Bucks and Bridge card acceptance systems. This would amount to an additional $140.

Grace remarked that there would probably not be strawberries by Father’s Day, as the season is about two weeks behind.

A beach cleanup will take place on Friday, July 5, at 8 am, in anticipation of lots of returnables after the Fourth of July fireworks. Another cleanup will probably be held on Monday the 8th as well.

At Solstice, Get Up and Dance! (formerly the Betsie Valley Dance School) will be performing in the Amphitheater at 6 pm. And the Oliver Art Center will be auctioning off a mosaic tile automobile during the festival; it was suggested they be put in the old railroad turnaround/sundial spot.

Some confusion/controversy over which company would service the portable toilets was cleared up. At last year’s festival the toilets ran out of paper and were in bad shape because apparently no one knew they could/should call the company, Ken-Jac, for service during the festival; Bill O’Dwyer made an emergency run to the store for TP. Ken-Jac will be used again this year and we’ve got their number.

Continuing preparations for Solstice include: staining the benches and garbage cans (Jennifer will try to get this done); putting out signs (meeting at 2 on Sunday at the Pump House to do this); finding a couple more volunteers to sell Elberta Balmers (ice tea with lemon and lemon balm), T-shirts, and popcorn at the P&R Solstice booth (P&R counts on fundraisers like these for revenue, since they don’t draw any money from the Village budget); recruiting a couple more members for the security team (you get to wear a shirt that says SECURITY!); various supply runs; finding a nonprofit to run the Bounce House; a few signs need finishing; and the Gross Food Eating Contest still needs to be organized (Bill O’Dwyer and Bill Soper were going to take care of this). If you’d like to help out with any of these tasks, or if you’d like to help with setup and/or cleanup, please call Jennifer Wilkins at 231-651-0798.

A few members lingered in the parking lot after adjournment to continue Solstice prep discussions. Connie, who had left for the beach, drove back up to report that a truck was offroading on the beach at that moment. Jennifer Wilkins went to investigate, and this reporter rode off on her bike, thinking about how Connie Manke, her neighbor, was the first person she met in the Village who made her think living here might actually be really good. Ψ

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