City gearing up for 2004 Summer Parks Program; runs June 9 through Aug. 6

Published 3:27 pm Friday, May 28, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- With the 2004 Summer Park Program beginning soon, the City of Niles is offering a fun way for kids to spend their summers.
The nine-week program, which is offered at East Side, South Side and Clevenger Parks, will begin on June 9 and run through Aug. 6. The program is free and open to all children entering first through sixth grade. It will be held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Some of the program's offerings will include outdoor activities, sports, arts and crafts and field trips.
Proposed field trips include visits to the Potowatami Zoo, Curious Kids Museum, Fernwood Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Niles District Library, Niles-Buchanan YMCA and Madeline-Bertrand Park.
Another benefit of the program is that it provides a free lunch on a daily basis. The lunches are prepared and delivered by the Salvation Army, who is in turn reimbursed by the USDA.
Coulston said all three of the parks have recently been improved with the addition of $160,000 worth of new playground equipment and drinking fountains.
At its peak, the program usually serves 225 to 250 children.
Niles High School and Western Michigan University graduate Joe Racht will serve as the Parks Program Director. He will oversee the daily operations at each park and will supervise the program's 12 other employees.
Children are expected to be picked up promptly at 3 p.m. or possibly earlier in the case of a weather-related cancellation.
Enrollment forms have been distributed to all area schools and will also be available at the participating parks and Niles City Hall throughout the summer.There is no deadline for registration and children may enroll at any time during the nine-week program. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Neil Coulston or Juan Ganum at the Niles City Hall, (269) 683-4700.