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New Jeannette rec director has plans for summer

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Jeannette Recreation Commission, like many other nonprofit organizations, will have a challenging year ahead with a loss of United Way funding.

The loss of $10,000 for the summer playground program has the recreation commission rethinking both the budget and the fundraising plan.

School board member Anita Mash, one of two school board representatives appointed to the recreation board, was elected recreation chairwoman last month. Mash joins new recreation director Kristen Mathias as part of the commission's new leadership.

Scott Youngbauer expressed concerns about upcoming budget issues, including the summer program.

Youngbauer is one of three summer employees who mow grass and perform maintenance at the parks and ball fields. He has been employed the last two years by the recreation commission and usually works from April to October.

After school is out in May, the commission usually hires two students to assist Youngbauer with grass cutting and maintenance.

Aware of the United Way funding cuts, Youngbauer was concerned as to whether or not he would have a job this year and asked if a lawn-care service had been hired to do the mowing.

Joe Yorio, the commission's second school board representative, said, “We are still talking about it. It is a cost factor and we are still in discussion.”

“I'm willing to work four days a week,” Youngbauer said.

Youngbauer also said he could maintain the fields with just one other employee working four days a week instead of the current five-day schedule if necessary, but he was concerned about other maintenance projects being done.

“I am trying to go out of my way to get people to donate to the recreation commission,” Youngbauer said.

He also offered to organize a car cruise on Clay Avenue to benefit the commission.

Commission members are working on other ways to generate revenue since the United Way will no longer fund the playground program.

Bus trips to Wheeling have been moved from Wednesday to Thursday to increase participation and Yorio felt that with some tweaks to the current fundraising plan and some “smart spending” the budget could be balanced.

The budget was tabled until the new recreation director was hired this month. Mathias has since begun working in her new role and the commission will meet again next month.

The commission is planning a trip to Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, with a stop on the way home at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord, on May 8. Tickets can be purchased by calling the commission office 724-527-4000, Ext. 29.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.