STOW — The city is moving closer to having a newly formed committee to work on plans for a playground/play trail and other features such as a splash pad near the city center site.
Mayor John Pribonic has submitted nine nominees for the SKiP (playground) committee to council, which needs to confirm the selections. Council member Mike Rasor (At Large) asked for more information on the prospective members’ qualifications as it applied to the criteria that was in the legislation that council approved to create the committee. The legislation calls for these appointees to be residents who do not work for the city and "have some experience/background in parks, splash pads, playgrounds and civic development projects or reside in a neighborhood adjacent to the city center project."
Council’s public improvements committee decided it would review the potential appointees at its Oct. 24 meeting once it had more information.
Pribonic told council he nominated the same nine people who have already been serving on a playground committee who have "spent countless hours" working on a play trail/playground and splash pad plan. The members, who mostly come from the city’s boards and commissions, had volunteered to serve on the advisory body a few months ago.
Those nine people are: Bruce Bach (Commission on Inclusion); Jenn Bernard (Holy Family); Sarah Haren (Arts Commission); Kimmy Henderson (Arts Commission); Deborah Luchka (Senior Citizen Commission); Bernie Moxley (Commission on Inclusion); Cherie Schrengauer (Arts Commission); Kari Suhadolnik (Arts Commission); and Denise Tonelli (Arts Commission).
The legislation council approved in September to set up the committee included a requirement that no more than two members from the same city board or commission could serve on the body. There were five members of the Arts Commission on the original committee, but Pribonic told council that Haren, Henderson and Schrengauer had submitted their resignations from the Arts Commission. By doing this, they could serve on the newly formed playground committee.
Haren said she enjoyed serving on both the Arts Commission and the playground committee, but said when council passed its legislation with the committee composition requirements, "I felt that I needed to make a choice between the two, so I chose to step down from the Arts Commission. Had the legislation allowed for more members of the Arts Commission to remain on the playground committee, I would not have resigned."
She added she felt the ideas that have been discussed and the presentations from companies that have occurred in the playground committee meetings "make me confident that the new play trail and splash pad will be wonderful additions to Stow."
Schrengauer said she had to make a "difficult decision," but noted the criteria in council’s legislation made it such that she had to leave one of the groups.
"I’m disappointed that after months of volunteering I wasn’t able to continue both, but decided I’d like to help with the new playground at this time," said Schrengauer.
Pribonic said Haren, Henderson and Schrengauer all felt that since they had spent a lot of time at meetings, "they’re really interested in seeing this thing proceed."
The mayor said he did not have immediate plans to appoint replacement members to the Arts Commission, but will fill the spots at a later date. The commission can continue operating as long as it has at least 10 members. There are currently 13 serving now, said Pribonic.
Committee makeup, applications still being accepted
Council last month overrode the mayor’s veto of legislation they approved establishing the new committee. The committee is required to have a minimum of nine members and a maximum of 18. The legislation calls for the council president to appoint three council members and three separate applicants to the committee, and for the mayor to appoint three members from the administration and/or parks and recreation board.
The remaining four to nine members would be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by council. Pribonic’s nomination of Bach, Bernard, Haren, Henderson, Luchka, Moxley, Schrengauer, Suhadolnik and Tonelli is intended to fill these spots. They still need council’s confirmation.
At the Oct. 10 meeting, Pribonic provided copies of applications for prospective committee members that he received during the summer. Council President Matt Riehl (Ward 1) said council would accept applications for the three appointments that he is allowed to make to the committee up until the next council meeting on Oct. 24.
The next SKiP committee meeting is slated for Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. in Stow City Hall.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.