The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Preparations continue for Festival of Lights, Chigger Chase

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  • The Ardmore Regional Park Authority had a full agenda for its monthly meeting Monday afternoon. As maintenance crews continued to put the finishing touch on the upcoming Festival of Lights, board members discussed plans for the regional attraction, as well as the 18th Annual Chigger Chase, which is Saturday.
    Sponsorship for the Chigger Chase has increased this year, and Nancy Sjulin said there are 400 registered for the event, with more expected to sign up leading up to the start of the race. Online registration at www.chiggerchase.net will run through noon Friday. Runners can also register at the Parks and Recreation Department or Regional Park from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
    Ardmore Parks and Recreation Department director Kevin Boatright provided an update on preparations for the Festival of Lights, and said the maintenance crew will light the park up tonight to determine if everything is working correctly. Because of the addition of displays, the park has added more power for the first time in 10 years.
    Boatright also told the authority that restrooms in all the city parks other than Regional and Central Parks had been winterized. The effort was made prior to a freeze last week to prevent the pipes from freezing and causing extensive damage. He also told the board a truck, which had been stolen from the department, was recovered in Purcell in good condition, other than damage to the steering column where the vehicle had been hot-wired.
    Boatright also told the board the new golf cart fleet at Lakeview Golf Course has been well received, as well as a paved road leading to the course and a paved parking lot. Materials for an approved dog park are also coming in, with work set to begin soon.
    An update on the capital campaign for the YMCA was given by Tom Riley, who said nearly $3 million of the $3.5 million has been raised. The YMCA is waiting to hear from a foundation regarding additional grant money, and is looking forward to additions that will be made at the facility.
    An experimental program involving teaching kids to swim has also begun. The two-week course is being offered to students at Oak Hall Academy, with hopes the program will expand throughout the city in the future. Updates on a fundraiser at the HFV Wilson Community Center, in addition to current projects, were also given.
    The board also decided to review the master plan for the Regional Park. The master plan was developed in 2006 and called for projects such as the dog park, in addition to projects that include an amphitheater, which would seat 5,000. Julie Aultman spoke to the board about the potential of moving forward with the construction of the pavilion, which could be used for a music festival.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I think there is enough interest in Ardmore and around Ardmore to get 5,000 people," she said.
    Boatright said the board had prioritized different projects within the park several years ago, and the amphitheatre was one of the bigger ticket items, although it was not known off-hand the cost of the project.
    The board decided to revisit the priorities for the park in an upcoming meeting.
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