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End of summer program in Monroeville upsets parents

| Saturday, June 7, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Monroeville parents said they were surprised and disappointed to learn a free summer park program was eliminated from the 2014 budget.

In past years, college-age students would oversee team sports and other activities at nine neighborhood parks on weekdays, but municipal administrators said the program was eliminated because of low attendance.

Monroeville parent Kathy Buzzie said she learned recently from a neighbor the program was cut.

“I was livid because my kids anxiously await the summer program every year,” Buzzie said.

The municipality saved about $30,000 as part of a $29.4 million budget this year by cutting two leaders per park, said citizen information director Joe Sedlak at a council meeting on Thursday.

Councilman Steve Duncan argued that programs at some of the parks, such as Pioneer and Bellwood, are well attended.

“The ones that have a higher usage … we should possibly look in to reinstating that,” he said.

Council members Linda Gaydos and Jim Johns said they, too, received calls from parents upset over the elimination of the program.

Park leaders were invaluable because they helped ensure the safety of the children, said Monroeville parent Bobbie Robak, whose children attended activities at Hawkeye parks for years.

“They would have my cellphone number; I would have theirs,” Robak said. “That's how close you would get with them.”

Manager Tim Little said if council wants to reinstate the funds to support the program in 2015, “something else will have to give.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755.

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