OC council hears about several recreation matters

Recreation, a broad topic ranging from city playgrounds to how public city parks can be used, was at the top of the agenda at Thursday’s Oil City Council meeting.

Council adopted a new ordinance establishing regulations for recreational facilities within the city. While lengthy in content, the ordinance carries no new restrictions or guidelines and follows a similar measure adopted some time ago by the city.

“The state requested we update our ordinance,” said city manager Mark Schroyer.

That update is required because of an upcoming city project, one that will depend on state grants, to enhance the West End Marina.

Last month, Schroyer told council the city needed to adopt a parks ordinance to cover the marina, and that prompted a decision to update existing rules that apply to public areas.

It is designed, according to the ordinance, “to regulate activities within these areas consistent with the enjoyment of the facilities and to prevent any nuisances to the residents.”

Regulations listed in the new ordinance are consistent with the existing city ordinance, said Schroyer.

On the subject of recreation, Schroyer told city council that work to install new equipment at the Mitchell Avenue playground may begin soon. The existing equipment will be removed and new items could be added soon.

“It depends on a grant,” said Schroyer. “But it will be a state-of-the-art playground by the end of this year.”

He also commented on the nearly completed Land of Laughter playground at the former Lincoln School site on Harriott Avenue.

The complete makeover lacks only the installation of sod on the site, said Howard Faunce, director of the city’s public works department that installed equipment and refurbished the site.

“We still need about $5,000,” said Faunce. “People have been generous … and we just received $3,900 from Grace United Methodist Church.”

In passing by the Land of Laughter playground on the way to work at city hall, Schroyer said he has seen many children and their parents enjoying the facility.

“The response has been overwhelming,” he said.

Playground program approved

In other business Thursday, council members approved the use of city playgrounds for the 41st annual YWCA-Samuel Justus summer playground program.

The program, open to all city youngsters and staffed by college students led by program coordinator and teacher Evan Basham, will begin Monday, June 10, and continue through Friday, July 19. It is being extended one week because of “high interest,” Basham noted in a letter to council.

The 9 a.m. to noon playground programs will be held Monday through Friday with several night activities scheduled. The participating playgrounds are Hasson Park, Land of Laughter, East End and Innis Street.

Basham noted to council that more than 200 children attended the Hasson Park playground, the only such facility in that neighborhood, in 2018.

Council accepted the resignation of Corey D. Schwab, a 12-year veteran of the Oil City Fire Department, who has been accepted for state police training. He will serve, though, as a part-time city firefighter.

Scott Attenborough was promoted to full-time firefighter. He is currently a part-time member of the department.

Roofing bid accepted

Council voted to accept a bid from Homan Specialty Roofing of Oil City to replace the roof at the Central Avenue fire station. Homan’s bid, the lowest of three submitted, was $89,700.

In reference to preparing bid specifications for the roofing project, Schroyer said city staff worked on those documents as well as others relating to road paving and city garbage and recycling contracts.

“Doing it in-house saved us thousands of dollars, taxpayer dollars,” he said.

Mayor Bill Moon echoed his comment and added, “I commend our staff for going above and beyond.”

Terri Felmlee, the city utilities manager, told council that a change last year in collecting delinquent bills from landlords rather than tenants, plus using a bill collection agency, has yielded results.

A year ago, the delinquency amount was $30,000, she said.

“We have collected half of it … and just recently received another $3,800,” she said.

Paving work slated

– Council voted to move forward with an agreement to have PennDOT mill and resurface Siverly Avenue, from Oak Grove to Colbert, and Oak Grove, from Kramer to Vo-Tech Drive. The project falls under the federal aid highway program.

That work will be done either this year or next year, said Jan Ruditis, a staff member in the city’s engineering department.

– Jason Herman, director of the city’s water department, said city crews will begin work next week to install a new water main on Cowell Avenue. The project involves the street from Third Street to Seventh Street and will take up to six weeks.

Herman also told council PennDOT’s paving schedule includes two city streets this year. They are Innis Street from First Street to the intersection with Route 257 and East Second Street from Wilson Avenue to Buzard’s Bend (intersection with the four-lanes).