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Parks and rec department flexes entertainment muscle

Staff writer

More and better choices are coming as “things to do” in Marion.

A bigger array of recreation activities and better oversight of public facilities are coming to fruition because of the merger of parks and recreation into one department with two full-time employees.

Josh Clevenger is the new assistant director of parks and recreation. He will begin duties May 23.

Several new activities have been added and old favorites, previously discontinued for lack of time to oversee them, have been brought back.

The list of recent, current, and coming activities includes tots and beginner gymnastics, basketball and softball clinics, summer swim team, baby-sitting clinic, antiques value estimation, youth track for students through sixth grade, an upcoming umpire clinic, water aerobics, bridge lessons, and upcoming horsemanship half-day camps.

Last week, Director Margo Yates scheduled more than 200 league games for summer sports.

“We’re able to do more because I’m doing this full-time,” Yates said.

Yates’ wish-list for future ventures include soccer, tennis lessons, racquetball league, and pickleball.

According to the USA Pickleball Association website, pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis and ping-pong. Played on a badminton-sized court with a paddle and plastic ball, the sport is appropriate for players of any age or skill level.

Yates said she’d also like to add performances at the stage in the park, horseshoe tournaments, and private swimming lessons.

The department is presently developing a walking trail at the industrial park.

Fresh ideas are always invited, Yates said.

“We’re glad to have ideas, we’re glad to have volunteers,” Yates said. “That would help make things happen.”

Having more employees also will be beneficial, with Yates now responsible for recreation as well as maintenance of parks and the cemetery. Positions of full-time parks supervisor and full-time cemetery supervisor have been eliminated.

Yates said she hopes people will have patience with the Parks and Recreation department in the short term as assistants are brought on board.

“It’s been a wet spring,” Yates said. “I hope everyone has a little patience. We’re doing the best we can.”

Besides Clevenger, two seasonal employees are in the works to take care of the parks and the cemetery. Yates said the potential employees are undergoing drug screening as a requirement of city employment.

Clevenger will assist with most of the things Yates does.

“If there’s something that needs to be done, I’ll expect him to be able to carry on,” Yates said.

Last modified May 12, 2016

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