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Parks and rec super delivers year-end report to council

Cary Ashby • Updated Feb 20, 2018 at 9:00 PM

Norwalk City Councilman Dave Wallace commended parks and recreation superintendent Joe Lindenberger for the many children, youth and adults who are reached through his department’s programs.

“You should be proud of what you do,” said Wallace, who represents the second ward.

Lindenberger said he has a staff members who work very hard and “burn the candle at both ends,” but they enjoy what they do. He presented his annual report to Norwalk city council Tuesday night.

Councilman Steve Schumm said he went to the Ernsthausen Community Center one day when school was closed due to the weather to see how many children were there. Schumm said he was very pleased to see a lot of children there engaged in physical activity instead of staying inside and playing video games. 

In response, Lindenberger said it’s common to see a large amount of children at the recreation center by noon on days when school is canceled.

Parks and rec offers 45 weekly fitness classes. In addition, there are more than 200 adult league teams: 110 for softball, 47 each for volleyball and basketball and eight flag-football teams.

Forty-five people participated in pickleball games in 2017, which brought in about $2,300 in revenue.

Pickleball is an up-and-coming activity,” Lindenberger said. “There is a very large core group.”

The rec center averages 100 fourth- through sixth-graders at Friday Fun Nights. Lindenberger said there are times when there have been 150 to 175 children participating. Activities include dodgeball, Bingo and swimming.

“It’s a big hit,” Lindenberger said.

The top three revenue-makers in 2017 were passes ($335,000 in 2017), general admission ($84,000) and the Silver Sneakers fitness program ($79,000).

Goals for 2018 include: $3,200 donation for upgrades to to the sand playground at Lions Park, replacing the shelter and adding rentals at Baines Park, replacing the netting for the batting cage and a Storybook Walk on the Sofios Park boardwalk. Lindenberger said the Storybook Walk is project in collaboration with the Norwalk Public Library and will be interactive, such as doing jumping-jacks at various stations, and the books will be changed every six months.

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