Recreation Board pushes ahead

Tue, 01/25/2022 - 7:15am

The Recreation Board met virtually for its January meeting, and Director Dave Sniffen talked about the various programs the board is offering for the winter season on Block Island. Mentioning that programs had paused when Covid “started to explode,” Sniffen told the board that the
Rec Department is back to operating its full slate of programming.
Sniffen said he was “following the school’s lead” when it came to sports, and has organized the kids’ activities to reflect the “pod” system used at Block Island School. As such, youth basketball is divided into three pods: kindergarten and first grade; second, third, and fourth grades; and fifth and sixth grades. All participants adhere to covid guidelines during the games, Sniffen informed the board.
The Rec Department is also fielding two off-island basketball teams, which both won games at Narragansett in their only outing. Sniffen said boat cancellations due to weather had limited the Saturday games, but weather permitting, the kids from Block Island will be back at it this weekend.
Sniffen reported that weekends are pretty busy at the school gymnasium, with various sports and activities for different age groups running throughout the weekend. (See box below.)
Sniffen reported that the annual ski trip had been canceled for Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. The department made the decision to be on the safe side in regards to Covid, but with the bad weather and all the boat cancellations, it would have turned into a “logistical nightmare,” had the trip taken place. Sniffen reported that the money raised for this year’s ski trip would roll over to next year’s trip.
Sniffen told the board that he has already met with Finance Director Amy Land, Facilities Manager Tom Risom, and Director of Public Works Matt Moynihan to discuss upcoming items for the capital budget. One item he requested is a replacement for the equipment shed at Heinz Field. Sniffen described the shed as “overcrowded” and “falling apart.” He said he hopes to replace it with one big enough to store some of the larger equipment, such as the power rake, to prolong the life expectancy of the machinery. He has gotten an estimate for a larger shed, 10 feet by 14 feet, which is expected to cost $8,000, including delivery and setup.
Board Member Gail Heinz asked if the shed could be relocated in order to extend the parking lot. The current shed sits at the edge of the parking area. Sniffen said that once the field’s drainage project is completed he would be able to relocate the shed to the west side of the property, which would be more convenient and would free up more parking.
The other capital budget item Sniffen discussed is the replacement of the department’s van. While having low mileage, the van is a 2005 model and Sniffen reported that rust and maintenance are becoming more difficult. He said they had already had to resolve issues with the
seat belts, and maintenance repairs over the summer put the van out of commission for a week. The Rec Department uses the van extensively for its Camp Mohegan programs and Sniffen said it was important to have a reliable vehicle for the “revenue generator” that the camp is. He said he hoped the van’s replacement would end up in the capital budget “sooner rather than later.”
The Rec Department is already preparing for next summer, with Sniffen reporting that he is getting a “good response” and receiving applications for camp counselors and lifeguards.

Rec Activities

Friday and Saturday
• 7 - 11 p.m.: Open gym
• 7 - 11 p.m.: Rec Center at Harbor Church basement (grades 8-12).
• 9 - 10:30 a.m.: Toddler Time
• 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Elementary open gym
• 12 - 2 p.m.: Middle school open gym
• 2 - 4 p.m.: Pickle Ball
• 4 - 6 p.m.: Volleyball