September 22, 2011 |

Rec board gets off the ground; Group shows support for events, trails

The Haines Borough’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee debuted Tuesday, with members selecting officers for the re-established group and voicing support for enhancing trails and outdoor events to spur economic development.

The committee voted Marnie Hartman to serve as chair, Ron Jackson as vice chair and Logan Simpson as secretary. Darsie Culbeck, Jessica Kayser, Jennifer Talley and Melany Zimmerman also are on the mayor-appointed committee.

A previous version of the group, called the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, dissolved in 2008, after members cited a lack of authority.

The Haines Borough Assembly adopted an ordinance in May to revive the group that would "advise the borough in the operation and maintenance of parks and recreation programs, facilities and activities."

Borough manager Mark Earnest on Tuesday explained to the members that in their advisory role they would make recommendations to the assembly.

Daymond Hoffman opened the meeting as the assembly’s liaison before the group appointed a chair.

Kayser said the group as a whole was new to the process.

"A few people have approached me from the community, concerned with the makeup of this group, in that there is no prior experience in any of the members on a borough advisory committee," Kayser said.

Mayor Jan Hill said Kayser and the committee would "have a plethora of people who are willing to help you."

"Just so you know, when we put the advertisement out for people to submit letters of interest, you were the seven people who jumped out of the gate," Hill said. "I just took that as a sign that you were very, very interested in doing it, and that’s why you got appointed."

Culbeck nominated Hartman as chair and said she has "a tremendous amount of experience" with recreation in the borough. Hartman is a physical therapist, teaches exercise classes and leads the Well and Fit Community Council, which has promoted the development of a Haines community recreation center.

"I really hope that Haines will someday be known as one of the healthiest communities in Alaska," Hartman said.

Vice chair Jackson, a retired forester, said he aims to improve the Haines trail system.

The group’s youngest member and secretary, Simpson, is a Haines High School senior who said he would provide "a voice for the kids." Hill designated the seat for a representative between the ages of 16 and 21.

The borough’s Community Youth Development director, a part-time staffer, will be an ex officio committee member. The position was vacant this week due to the recent departure of Sarah Elliott for another job in Haines.

Committee members said they plan to meet monthly, for about an hour. Their next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, in the assembly chambers to discuss agenda formats, the borough’s comprehensive plan update, and ideas for a Haines recreation center.

Talley, like Hartman, said one goal for the group is to help improve the overall health of the community.

"If you’re not healthy then, ultimately, nothing else matters," Talley said.