The Ashland Parks and Recreation Department undertook major projects and opened most parks to dogs in 2013, and is taking on significant new tasks this year, according to a State of the Parks address to be delivered tonight.
Stefani Seffinger, the chairwoman of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission, will deliver the address during a meeting that begins at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.
She provided a preview of her remarks.
Last year in Lithia Park, the department restored the historic Atkinson Bridge near the children's playground as well as the deteriorating Enders Shelter, a historic gazebo.
The department launched a project in late 2013 to resurface the Calle Guanajuato pedestrian walkway and install new water, gas and electric lines. That project will wrap up this year.
Major projects for 2014 including developing Ashland Creek Park near the intersection of Hersey and Oak Streets, and deciding how best to preserve the historic Butler-Perozzi Fountain in Lithia Park.
Parks Commissioners decided in 2013 to lift restrictions on dogs in parks and opened most city parks to dogs on leashes. North Mountain Park and Lithia Park remain off limits to dogs in order to protect riparian areas and wildlife.
The Dog Park off Nevada Street was upgraded and the parks department installed more dog-waste bag dispensers, bringing the total around town to 58.
For almost 30 years, the department has performed fuel reduction work in the Ashland Watershed. Last year was no exception, with the department treating 100 acres to reduce fire risk.
The department helped provide 7,000 meals at the Ashland Senior Center and, in partnership with the Food and Friends Program, helped deliver nearly 9,000 meals to seniors at their homes.
Senior citizens enjoyed a range of social activities and exercise classes at the center.
The department has a strong volunteer program, with 400 volunteers providing more than 11,000 hours of service for the parks system.
A new cover this winter for the Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink may have helped boost revenues by $11,000 compared to the same period in 2012.
The Parks Commission and Ashland City Council are continuing to work together to reach an agreeement on how the commission will participate in the city's goal setting and budgeting processes.
The two elected bodies plan to meet in March to discuss approving an agreement.
The parks department is continuing its partnership with the Ashland School District, providing outdoor and environmental education programs, venues for sports teams and a range of other services to benefit students.