By Taylor Boyd
The Stuart Town Council voted to give $2,500 to the Stuart Park and Recreation Association at its Jan. 19 meeting.
Two members of association’s Board of Directors asked the council in December for funds to help with the park’s sustainability. The council postponed a decision on the subject until it could examine its funds more closely.
Stuart Mayor Ray Weiland said the town could comfortably give the group up to $5,000 this year.
“I know that we can help them this year, and I think we can help them next year. I’m reluctant to make a yearly commitment because we just don’t know what our finances are going to be in the future,” he said.
Town Manager Bryce Simmons said the park’s biggest expense is for the lifeguards who work three months during the summer when the pool is open.
“That typically runs around $35,000 for the time it operates,” Simmons said.
DeHart Park also recently lost funding along with the other parks in the county, he added.
“The county, from what I understand, was at $1,500 in their budget for each park at one time, and it went down to $1,200. Now, that has been completely taken out as a line item,” he said.
Simmons added that the park could apply for funds through the county’s Tourism Office, but he noted that application requires a $5,000 reimbursement project-based fund, which “doesn’t really help them on the day-to-day operations.”
Councilman Dave Hoback suggested giving the group $2,500 now, with the potential to give another $2,500 later in the year.
“I think that is really a good faith allocation right now,” Simmons said.
In other matters, the council:
*Approved the meeting minutes.
*Heard an update from Simmons on the wastewater treatment plant.
*Discussed applying for other grants.
*Approved a feasibility study for the Star Theater in Downtown Stuart.
*Heard the Stuart Volunteer Fire Department 2021 end of year report from council member Erica Cipko, who is also a member of the fire department.
Cipko said the department ran 278 calls in 2021, with 137 being inside town limits. When answering calls outside town limits, the department assisted most with Company 23, Patrick Springs Volunteer Fire Department.
“We were in Ararat (Volunteer Fire Department) and CCDF’s (Volunteer Fire Department) about 13 times this year. So, our trucks did travel a good way to get out there, but our guys and girls were very eager to do that,” she said.
*Scheduled a budget committee meeting for Thursday, March 24 at 2 p.m.
*Scheduled a blight committee meeting for Wednesday, February 16 at 6 p.m.
*Paid the bills.
Councilman Dean Goad did not attend the meeting.