Jake Kerr

Sheldon Recreation Department director Jake Kerr gives his annual report to the Sheldon City Council last Wednesday. Numbers were up for the recreation department in 2021.

SHELDON—Kids are having a ball participating in the programs put on by the Sheldon Recreation Department.

Recreation director Jake Kerr gave his annual report to the Sheldon City Council during last Wednesday’s meeting.

The department offered 28 children’s programs over the past year and two adult programs. While one of the more popular programs — indoor soccer — was not offered over the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic, outdoor spring soccer doubled its numbers compared to 2019 when 70 kids participated. This year 153 kids participated, according to a spreadsheet from Kerr. Outdoor spring soccer was not offered in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Councilman Pete Hamill asked Kerr to “shed some light” on the outdoor spring soccer numbers.

“Is it just growing that enthusiastically?” Hamill asked.

Kerr said one possibility is that indoor soccer was not a go this past year but outdoor spring soccer is becoming a popular program in general.

“We are seeing a lot of growth in soccer in the community,” Kerr said. “One thing that is contributing is having a soccer program at the high school as well. We saw big improvements from our summer rec soccer.”

Outdoor spring soccer was not the only program to see an increase in numbers as 1,404 kids participated in a youth program in 2021 according to Kerr’s count.

His spreadsheet went back to 2008 and it was the first time participation numbers reached 1,400.

“This year was a great year and it was one of the best years that we’ve had as you can see by the numbers,” Kerr said. “This year has been one of our biggest years for recreation. We are getting a good partnership with the Sheldon community schools. They are partnering with us for flag football, basketball, other things which gets the kids more involved.”

Councilman Tom Eggers said the increases are what they like to see.

Kids also were excited to have the pool back.

While the Sheldon Family Outdoor Aquatic Center did not see record numbers, the pool had one of its busiest summers since 2012.

The pool was open for 79 days and generated $55,984 in total revenue, the most since the pool pulled in $66,379 in 2012.

Members visited the pool 7,379 times and nonmembers added 3,251 to it for a total attendance of 10,630, the most since 2016.

Swimming lessons even saw a bump from 138 last summer to 151 in 2021.

“Pool memberships are up,” Kerr said. “Overall, this past summer was great for our outdoor aquatic center.”

He still has his challenges to deal with and the biggest one is still finding volunteers for the various programs.

“During registration when you sign up, you can say ‘yes.’ All of our volunteers get discounts as well,” Kerr said. “It’s about a 90 percent discount.”

Sheldon Public Works director Todd Uhl gave a few updates to the council after Kerr. He noted the traffic light project at the intersection of North Runger Avenue and Park Street is at the Iowa Department of Transportation for review.

Earlier in the meeting the council set a hearing on agreements to facilitate the demolition of the former Bethel Reformed Church site at 611 Seventh St. The church suffered a fire in 2016 and has not been used since. The city plans to demolish the property as part of the urban revitalization plan.

The public hearing for the agreement to demolish the church was set for 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15 during the council meeting.

The council later reviewed the introduction of the capital improvement plans.

The meeting ended after the council held a closed session for the fourth time in the last five meeting to discuss potential purchase of real estate. For the first time, no action was taken on the potential purchase.

Other items the council approved included:

  • An advancement of costs for urban renewal product for 229 N. Fifth Ave. cleanup.
  • Referring to the Planning and Zoning Commission a request from Ag Processing to vacate Railroad Avenue and adjacent rights of way.
  • A bid award of $39,995.00 to Acterra Group Inc. of Marion for the first phase of the Sheldon Regional Airport fuel system project.
  • Pay request No. 2 of $100,254.42 for Crossroads North Phase II.
  • A resolution approving the 2020-21 fiscal year urban renewal report.
  • A 2021-22 fiscal year budget amendment.
  • An affiliation agreement between the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team and Boyden Ambulance.
  • Urban revitalization plan updates for Prairie Trail multifamily and Trilogy multifamily.