ITID Discusses Adding Supervised Rec Programs

The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors held a workshop Wednesday, Sept. 18 to set parks and recreation priorities, focusing on the reassignment of some staff and involving private providers with new recreation programs.

ITID Executive Director Burgess Hanson said his intent was to get feedback from the board on what members would like to see in ITID recreation programs.

“Tonight is about hearing what input you like and where you want to see parks and recreation go,” Hanson said. “There are some administrative areas that we’re already working on, including the scheduling of staff to cover the parks seven days a week — and not just during the daytime, but into the evening and more than just one person.”

He explained that ITID has two vacant positions that will be used to fill new recreational manager posts.

“While we’re not going to ask for any type of increase in salary range, what we may ask the board to consider is a change that those positions do to focus more on recreation events and facility rentals,” he said.

Recreation Director Tim Wojnar said the position would be filled with a parks and recreation manager who would manage the actual events and coordinate the implementation of new recreation programs created in the future, as well as a parks and recreation specialist to assist the manager.

“[We would] develop some internal programs for some children who are not in the Acreage Athletic League,” he said, referring to ITID’s official nonprofit provider of organized sports programs. “Some children just aren’t interested in baseball or football, so we want this position to be able to look at those children and try to meet their needs with some internal programs, be it tennis lessons, basketball lessons or things of that nature.”

The parks and recreation specialist would travel around to each event going on at respective parks, working with the manager to see that ITID procedures are being followed.

Hanson explained that the programs would be offered at district parks where there are courts or fields available.

Wojnar said the new recreation programs would extend into the evenings and weekends, necessitating two staff positions to fill the hours.

“If the residents need help, if there are events, bookings going on at Hamlin House, football games, baseball games, softball games — it’s just really a lot of stuff going on,” he said.

Wojnar added that he would also like to open Pump Station No. 2 several times a year with staff involved to have a fishing day.

“I think the community would enjoy it. I think staff would enjoy it, and it would give the community a chance to go out there and take a look at what we have and the importance of our impoundment area,” he said.

Wojnar also suggested bringing in instructors from the outside, explaining that the City of Greenacres offers a variety of recreational programs, including tai chi, fencing, yoga and art.

“What I would like to see is to bring in these outside people, give them the space and take a portion of their profit,” he said. “That way, there’s something in it for the district as well.”

Wojnar said he would also like to reach out to equestrian groups to get them more involved with the Nicole Hornstein Equestrian Park and set up some events like in the past.

“We had some barrel shows. I think we had some dressage shows as well. But I’d like to get more involved with them,” he said. “If we could increase the usage, it would be great for everybody.”

Wojnar added that he would like to work with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to see that all of the district parks are interconnected by pedestrian and/or equestrian paths.

ITID President Betty Argue said she liked the idea of working with TCRPC to implement some recreational ideas. “We’ve already actually implemented and hired them for a relationship, so that’s already happening,” Argue said.

Argue also likes the idea of bringing in instructors for programs such as tennis and basketball, but she would also like to see some added relationships with the AAL.

“I know the Acreage Athletic League is trying to start a basketball league,” she said. “They actually have made some arrangements with Seminole Ridge High School, so it is quite possible that they’re interested in partnering with us in something like that. I think it’s a fabulous idea.”

Hanson said part of the idea is create pickup games at the various parks to make recreational sports available to children whose parents might not have the resources to put them in league sports, or children who don’t have enough interest to participate in organized athletics.

Nevertheless, he also supported the idea of getting the AAL involved. “We have met already with the Acreage Athletic League,” Hanson said.

Argue added that she liked the idea of opening up the impoundment area for activities, reaching out to local equestrian groups to hold shows and the idea of interconnectivity between the parks.

“It’s not something that’s going to be accomplished overnight,” she said. “At least if we have a vision and a plan, we can break it down into manageable pieces.”