“They have been there longer than I have,” Recreation Supervisor Tony Pehle said. “The Piranhas swim team has already been volunteering around the city at places like the Senior Center, and they have already cleaned the weeds behind Alf Sorensen. They take care of the facility already. This will just make the adoption official.
“We are excited to have them assist us at the facility and we have always had a strong partnership with them.”
Pehle said the Piranhas uprooted and gathered four truck loads of weeds behind Alf Sorensen recently and they have done various work around the facility in years past. Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Domingues said the team has treated Alf Sorensen like a home and she hopes they will remain a staple in the community for years to come.
Toward the end of the Oct. 23 meeting, Domingues added that Alf Sorensen would receive its pool ceiling replacement in the summer of 2014. She said the project is purposely taking place in the summer for a better chance of relocating the various pool programs to other Sparks facilities.
The Parks and Rec. Commission also discussed possible bans on tobacco use at local parks and during special events. Domingues said City Manager Shaun Carey received a single complaint following the Nugget Rib Cook-Off in late August about cigarette smoke in downtown Sparks. Carey tasked Parks and Rec. to investigate and discuss the issue for possible action.
Special Events Coordinator Francine Burge referenced the Rib Cook-Off’s three tobacco companies, who participate in the event who bring in thousands of dollars for the local economy.
“Tobacco companies are very regulated in what they can advertise, especially at major events like the Rib Cook-Off,” Burge said. “They are only allowed to interact with smokers and are unable to invite anyone else in their tent. Their booth must be fully enclosed and it must be out of the sight of children as much as possible. That’s why they are so far away from the kids and family areas.”
Commission Chair Dave Sexton said he thought the tobacco companies at the Rib Cook-Off did a great job of controlling their products. Commissioner Steve Schiller said outdoor events, as opposed to indoor events, offer plenty of room for people to move freely and avoid any cigarette smoke.
Councilwoman Julia Ratti, who sits on the Parks and Rec. Commission, said she was happy to see the city make the effort to look into the issue and stray from being an “echo chamber.” She said it proved the Parks and Rec.’s due diligence to the citizens of Sparks.
Domingues said the Parks and Rec. Commission will be meeting a few more times as the department finalizes its Comprehensive Plan, which it has been doing throughout the year. She said the plan goes to a workshop with the City Council on Nov. 18 after which time Domingues will bring the plan back to the commission for final review.