ASHTABULA — Imagine a five-foot-high Connect Four board next to a giant Jenga tower as Walnut Beach park-goers lounge on beach towels nearby.
These are scenes Ashtabula County Commissioner J.P. Ducro IV would like to see. They also illustrate a trend in urban public spaces — whether it's super-sized Scrabble or giant checkers, games seem to appeal to children and young adults.
"I've seen them at lots of places; most recently along the beach at Cedar Point," he said. "It might be another draw and keep people around the concession stand."
Ducro presented the idea at last week's Park and Recreation Board meeting.
"We loved the idea, but we have to check out the cost," said Earl Tucker, board chair. "After all, recreation is what we are about."
Ducro said he doesn't believe the games' cost would outweigh the benefit to the area's tourism.
One game beachgoers can participate in right now is volleyball. Tucker said volleyball nets have been found and are now up at the beach.
A major project at the beach — weather permitting — will begin today as construction crews start replacing the roof on the concession stand, City Manager Jim Timonere said.
In June, Ashtabula City Council approved an ordinance to enter into a $64,900 agreement with Building Technicians Corp. in Geneva to replace the roof. Timonere said Building Technicians were the most responsible bid.
The Parks and Recreation Board also discussed purchasing a pet waste receptacle station for the grassy area of Walnut Beach. Tucker said everyone agrees dogs should be allowed on the beach if they are on a leash and their owners pick up and properly dispose of their waste.
"The problem is people take their dogs to the beach and let them run loose," Tucker said. "Pet waste on the beach is a minor health risk."
Timonere said City Council will need to change the ordinance to restrict where animals can be in the park.
"Once done, I will get the new signs ordered," he said.
The current ordinance reads: “Dogs or other pets must be kept leashed except in designated areas. Dogs are not permitted on the Walnut Beach Park bathing beach during lifeguard duty hours. The owner or keeper of any animal brought to any municipal park shall cause any and all feces or other waste attributable to the animal to be disposed of properly.”
Tucker said the problem is enforcement, but he realizes a police officer can't sit at the beach all the time and "lifeguards shouldn't have to police the beach."
Hopefully, beach-goers with dogs will obey the rules.
Timonere said city crews are doing their best to keep up with garbage people are leaving on the beach and they have used the beach cleaner.
"With high water levels and storms, tons of debris has been showing up," he said. "We are trying to stay on top of it."