Tiffin Park & Recreation Board members welcomed Bryce Kuhn as the new recreation coordinator during its meeting Thursday, and heard Tiffin Bark Park registration opens May 1.
Kuhn replaces Matt Coleman, who recently was promoted to park director.
A Tiffin native, Kuhn is a 2008 graduate of Columbian High School and 2012 graduate of Heidelberg College with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
"He was part of the department for seven years, from age 16," Coleman said. "We're excited to have him back."
Kuhn said he started in the aquatics program as a lifeguard in 2005 and worked as a half-time lifeguard and half-time summer daycamp counselor in 2011 before moving into the maintenance department in 2012.
For the past two years, he has worked at the YMCA in Kittanning, Pa.
"I'm just excited to be back in town and back working in the parks," he said. "I look forward to the changes that are going to be coming in the years to come."
Board Chairman John Bing said Kuhn increases the professionalism of the park staff and he looks forward to hearing his ideas and coordinating efforts with the local YMCA.
Tiffin Bark Park committee is planning the dog park's grand opening at Highland Park for Memorial Day weekend.
"We're moving full steam ahead," said Mike Brown, who represented the Bark Park committee.
He presented a draft of a Bark Park brochure to be distributed as a marketing tool, and asked board members for ideas and input.
The brochure contains details on fees, rules and health requirements owners must meet before their dogs can be registered to use the park. He said color brochures are to be printed and available for distribution.
After May 1, registration forms and money can be turned in to the city finance department, and personnel will place the money is the appropriate account and pass along registration forms to committee members for verification.
"We wanted to give Gwynn Reinhart and the finance department time to get away from taxes and be ready for another project," Brown said.
Fees are $15 for one dog, $20 for two dogs or $25 for three dogs to register for a calendar year; and $10, $15 and $20 to register for a half-year, July-December.
After fees are paid and health requirements are verified by a veterinarian, Brown said users are to be provided with a code to the lock on the dog park gate. Each code is to be unique to the individual member.
"Most dog owners have the necessary tests already done," Brown said. A veterinarian can provide proof health requirements have been met.
Coleman said plans are in place to install a 6-foot black vinyl-coated fence soon, and the water fountain has been ordered. He said five benches as well as trash receptacles are ready to be placed.
Because part of dog park is near the baseball field at Highland Park, Coleman said some sort of protection is to be used to make sure stray foul balls aren't a danger to people and dogs using the park.
Brown said an open house and on-site enrollment day is to be planned where people can take their dogs to the new park to try it out, fill out forms and pay their dues.
Coleman said park programs coming up in the next few weeks include the annual Pitch, Hit and Run competition at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Oakley Park and the annual community Earth Day celebration 1:30-4:30 p.m. April 27 at Hedges-Boyer Park.
He said the first Oakley Park cleanup day is at 9 a.m. Saturday, and is being planned by a woman from the community. Kuhn plans to have a mulcher there to mulch leaves that are raked by volunteers, and trucks will be available to haul away trash.
"We have 12 neighborhood parks we want people to take ownership to," Coleman said. "This is a great idea."
He said a $1,000 gift from Taiho Corp. of America is to be used for electrical upgrades, a small tractor and other improvements to Jocko Huffman Field at Hedges-Boyer.
Board members also received two brochures designed by intern Erica Huffman. One is "Get to Know Your Parks" guide and map and a second is a Seneca County recreational trail guide.
Coleman said the department will miss Huffman after she leaves Tiffin, and he's hoping to find more interns from Tiffin University and Heidelberg University.
He said the parks department is to have two seasonal staff members to assist with mowing and maintenance this summer.