MONTPELIER— The Montpelier Parks and Recreation Department has its hands full with baseball games and preparations for summer activities.
Nick Ramos, parks supervisor, and Sandy Gordon, parks and recreation director, told the Montpelier Village Council about immediate plans and hurdles as well as long-term goals during the meeting Monday evening.
Ramos said he is busy now with keeping village property mowed and maintained. He is solely responsible for maintaining Storer Park, Municipal Park, Founder’s Park, the tree grove, certain school practice areas and more.
Gordon said they had at least 30 acres of land to maintain, not including Founder’s Park.
Ramos is also in charge of two baseball diamonds.
“There are no less than three games a day I have to get the fields ready for,” he said. “Nowadays, these leagues are starting games in April as opposed to late May when they used to start. That puts serious strain on our spring schedule. You add the fact that I have to get lifeguards in, the pool back from winter. Things get pretty stressful this time of year.”
Adding to the stress, he added, is that winter is lasting longer, resulting in less time to prepare for spring. Coupled with the earlier starting ball games requires him to deal with wet fields, causing headaches as they prepare the fields for games.
However, Ramos said he wouldn’t have it any other way, as he loves his job.
Two students were hired this year to help with summer work, which will help relieve his workload, he said. Lifeguards will come in next week that will help prepare the pool for opening, too.
Gordon also has her hands busy this time of year preparing for summer programming for kids.
“We had 147 kids at the registration blitz plus their parents on Saturday, even though it rained,” she said. “Right now, we have 165 registrations. We had almost 300 last year, when it was all said and done... Most people wait until the very end.”
Programs overall are holding steady with more than 100 kids signed up for a tie dye event and 18 kids signed up for junior gardeners.
“We’re trying a bunch of different things to see what works,” she said. “I say ‘we,’ the library and the park. We’re trying some different things to see what sticks in the community and what doesn’t.”
Free summer lunches are making a return this year at the concession stand at Municipal Park.
Lunches will be served Monday through Friday from 12-12:30 p.m. starting on June 5 and going until the Friday before the start of school. The only day without a lunch is July 4.
“Our numbers, I anticipate, will be up a little this year,” Gordon said. “We’re moving away from the COVID years where the numbers actually went down because there was so much extra money floating around.”
Several local churches, civic leagues and individuals have all made various types of donations to help with the program.
An issue Gordon has been seeing is that summer helpers may work through high school, but they don’t come back while they’re in college.
Gordon said it was a program worth keeping, which Ramos agreed.
“It may not mean much to the kids who don’t use it but to the kids who do use it it means a lot,” Ramos said.
That results in helpers getting younger.
“That being said, we have a great group of kids at the park this summer,” she said. “We had seven applications for one position for concession stand/recreation.”
Gordon was asked what has changed the most during her time at the department, which has been the technology.
That has changed so much because she started in 1995.
“We barely had anything on the computer at that point and now everything is on the computer,” Gordon said. “I still have a copy of a letter I wrote to ask council to beg for the internet because nobody on council thought the internet was going anywhere and I had to beg to get it.”
In five years’ time, Ramos said he hoped to have the pool refurbished while Gordon said she hoped to have a completed Iron Horse River Trail.
“However, if the last five years have taught us anything is that it’s hard to predict the future,” she said.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.