PCCS withdraws offer to run pool concession stand

Friday, March 6, 2020

After just one year of operating the concession stand at the Greencastle Aquatic Center, Putnam County Comprehensive Services (PCCS) has withdrawn a proposal to continue that relationship.

“After much consideration, PCCS has decided to withdraw a proposal to run the concession stand this summer,” PCCS Executive Director Andrew Ranck told the Park Board at its March meeting Thursday night at City Hall.

Apologizing “for the short notice,” Ranck told the board there were “too many hurdles, too many roadblocks for us.”

“It wasn’t a good fit this year,” Ranck said, indicating the possibility of losing the old Charlie’s site across from the Robe-Ann Park entrance as a storage location.

He said the main PCCS consumer who would be running the concession stand was not coming back and the lack of interest by others in the snack bar positions made the prospect of a second season “not worth it to us.”

After previously reporting that PCCS lost about $450 last season, Ranck noted Thursday night that the concession stand actually made a small profit in 2019, explaining that one deposit ended up in the wrong account.

Hopefully that experience illustrates that it is possible to turn a profit on concessions, Ranck said.

City Councilman Dave Murray was in the audience Thursday night and said he was “deeply disappointed” that PCCS was not continuing as operators of the snack bar, stressing “we have lost money forever in the concession stand.”

A long history of losing money at the concession stand prompted the experimental partnership between PCCS and the Park Department last summer. City officials were surprised to see it end after one year.

“It’s very disturbing that some of our most vulnerable people in the community are being pushed out of the way,” Murray said of the PCCS demise.

Park Board President Tim Trigg responded by saying, “We, quite frankly, wanted to have them back.”

“Who runs it now? Will the menu change?” Councilman Murray asked, alluding to the pared-down menu offered by PCCS that did not include fried foods like french fries.

Trigg said that remains up in the air.

“This kind of took us by surprise,” he said, “We’re not sure what we’re going to do at this moment.”

Whatever that is, both Ranck and Murray urged the board not to include fried foods at the concession stand.

“Don’t change the menu,” Murray said, alluding to the example set by PCCS that the stand could be profitable. “If you can’t balance the budget, don’t bring french fries back.”

At a previous Park Board meeting, members said the public had questioned them often about the elimination of french fries last summer.

“I would say, don’t do fried foods,” Ranck urged. “You’ll have food waste, and beyond french fries, you’ve got oil and machinery (costs). Once you get into grease, it’s a whole different game.

“I would not do it. You’ve got a captive audience who will buy what you have.”

He noted that Skittles were the best-selling candy last summer, while pretzels (microwaved for warmth) were the top-seller otherwise.

Park Director Rod Weinschenk said the group will keep its options open for now.

“I was under the understanding,” board member Cathy Merrell said, “that there was always an opportunity for the Park Department to take it back over in the future.”

Apparently that future is now.

Meanwhile, PCCS and the Park Department did agree on a contract to provide a maintenance worker for up to 20 hours per week over the period April 1-Oct. 31 at $15 an hour.

The worker will remain a PCCS employee so that his benefits aren’t affected by doing the seasonal job at the park and then returning to the PCCS fold the rest of the year.

The PCCS consumer involved has a driver’s license, Ranck said, which would potentially make him more valuable to the Park Department.

“He can drive,” Ranck said, “so he wouldn’t be married to Robe-Ann (Park). He can help you out in the other parks.”

Other business discussed at the two-hour meeting will be addressed in a later article.

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  • Not trying to nitpick, but this is the second article written by Eric Bernsee about this topic where he refers to it as an "experiment". Why?

    He doesn't mention in either article that PCCS is a decades old nonprofit in Putnam county, one of their primary goals is finding jobs and housing for people with disabilities.

    Is it such a gamble for the disabled to work a cash register selling soda and candy for minimum wage? And it's not the first time they have worked with the city. Sounds like a really good idea, not an "experiment ".

    Not only does is sound a bit insensitive and condescending, but I don't think it's an accurate description. I don't know, but maybe being called experiments in the paper made them want to work elsewhere?

    And the concessions made a profit for the first time ever? Great job!

    -- Posted by Raker on Sat, Mar 7, 2020, at 9:35 AM
  • In defense of Eric and the Banner, the “experiment” was letting an outside vendor run the shop- not the use of individuals with disabilities running the shop.

    Eric and the Banner have been long time supporters of the great people PCCS serves. Do a search with PCCS as the keyword and you will see the celebration of PCCS that the Banner provides.

    In fact, Eric was a long term member of our board and has supported our missions for many years.

    -- Posted by GladysK on Sat, Mar 7, 2020, at 11:03 AM
  • Thanks for the information. I'm still not a fan of calling it experimental. Was there a concern it would go badly, and why? I just don't recall reading about other new ideas as being "experimental".

    -- Posted by Raker on Sat, Mar 7, 2020, at 11:33 AM
  • https://www.bannergraphic.com/story/2599839.html

    In the article from last spring, Mayor Dory is quoted as labeling this an ‘experiment’ the first year.

    -- Posted by bevaallmanmiller on Sat, Mar 7, 2020, at 10:16 PM
  • I read the article you linked to, I appreciate that. Thanks for the clarification.

    In the context of the conversation in the article, where details and scheduling issues with the park employees and other volunteers are trying to be sorted out and are getting complicated, I can understand the comment that it is "sort of an experiment" about the PCCS proposal and all the other issues raised in that conversation, and that it's not necessarily referring to disabled people working at the park or concessions being an experiment, which has a negative implication that we must study whether disabled people (or PCCS) should be able to or are capable.

    That being said, I still believe it comes across as insensitive and a bit condescending to repeatedly reference this partnership with PCCS and disabled citizens as an experiment or experimental.

    I didn't know that Eric Bernsee took this seemingly throwaway remark and decided to repeat it as a description in two news articles, and outside the context of the source I hope you can understand why me or someone else would think that it is an inaccurate and tone deaf description.

    -- Posted by Raker on Sun, Mar 8, 2020, at 12:23 AM
  • My concern is why the park department would not make a commitment with PCCS 3 months ago when the proposal was first presented. Last year was the first time the concession stand did not loose hundreds of dollars for our park department. It was a successful operation that gave a great job opportunity to very worthwhile community members. I think the park board needs to explain why they couldn’t make that decision when it was first prevented.

    -- Posted by Fritz on Sun, Mar 8, 2020, at 8:57 AM
  • I read that PCCS is unable to run the concession stand again because it is just not a fit for them this year, PCCS gave multiple reasons for their decision and even apologized for the short notice. So I ask Councilman Murray exactly how the "most vulnerable people in the community" are being PUSHED out? To me it seems the Parks Department has indicated they would welcome PCCS and their people back.

    -- Posted by goingon80 on Sun, Mar 8, 2020, at 9:46 AM
  • On the topic of editors and their writing, did anybody read the "shocker at mcanally" by bannergraphic sports editor Joey Bennett the other day? He makes several denigrating remarks about these high school basketball players, like his speculation that they started playing poorly because they were already thinking about the next game, and how the Franfort players dug in their "tiny heels" to fight back (because their players were smaller than ours), and then Joey Bennett's own description of how Greencastle coach Bryce Rector takes "zero solace" that all his starters will be back next season? Give me a break. I never read a high school ball game recap in a paper talking about high school kids like this. Am I off base about this? I only mention here because Joey Bennett disables comments on his articles.

    -- Posted by Raker on Sun, Mar 8, 2020, at 1:16 PM
  • *

    Raker -

    Since you asked...

    Yes, you are off base on just about everything.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 9:02 AM
  • Two windmills are standing in a field.

    One asks the other,"What kind of music do you like?"

    The other one says, "I'm a big metal fan."

    -- Posted by Raker on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 10:52 AM
  • In my opinion this was a power play by the Parks Director with the help of a board that is too sympathetic to him. The Mayor and the new Rebublican run Common Council should hold them all accountable. If a change in Parks Director is not pallatable, perhaps reappointment of board members is in order. The current board was seated by the previous Common Council. Time for change!

    -- Posted by scottdaledunbar on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 2:14 PM
  • *

    Hold Em Accountable -

    While I am not a fan of the Parks Director, this reads to be simply a case of PCCS not being interested in running concessions - mainly b/c the one person that they relied on to actually run it wasn't interested nor was anyone else interested in stepping up.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 2:32 PM
  • Hold em accountable, why do you feel it was a power play, I'm just curious. Do you think the park director is making bad decisions? Thanks.

    -- Posted by Raker on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 2:53 PM
  • Could students in high school business classes run it, with a sponsor, for school credits? It would provide practical experience in retail, marketing, purchasing, accounting, etc.

    -- Posted by FactswithoutBS on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 5:39 PM
  • Raker, you need to read between the lines. They withdrew because the board sat on it for three months because the Parks Director thinks he can do it after years of failing.

    -- Posted by scottdaledunbar on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 6:24 PM
  • Raker. None of your comments except the first one are revenants to this article. Aranck explained very clearly the facts of ‘experimental’. Then you switch to hounding Joey Bennet which has nothing to do with this article. Asking a question is one thing which you did in your first post. The old adage of ‘if you can’t say anything nice don’t say it at all’. Apparently you have many ‘beefs’ to pick with the Banner and their editors. Please go to the Banner office and complain directly to them. We get tired of hearing it on here. Thanks for reading, if you did Raker.

    -- Posted by Nit on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 6:34 PM
  • Nit, that's okay if you don't agree with me, I'm not really concerned with your opinion either. Sorry if these are your friends. I understand people with similar personalities will be offended. I raised sincere concerns about the language the editors used in these articles. If I'm upsetting you it's probably because you're okay with it, but me and others aren't. By the way, I sent an email to the manager and publisher same day the article came out. And I always follow up threads I post on, so chill.

    -- Posted by Raker on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 7:34 PM
  • Raker. I do believe you missed my point totally.At the end of this article it says”Respond To This Story”. I do not believe there was anything in this story about Joey Bennett or any of the Banner editors. I did not say I disagreed with your opinion at all. Nor did I sayyou were upsetting me.

    -- Posted by Nit on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 8:13 PM
  • Nit, sorry but I find it hard to believe that your point was you were annoyed that I was off topic. I get my point might be hard to follow, not really trying to be insulting by that or argue, maybe you should read all my comments again. This is a public discussion forum, not a courtroom, and right above this box it says to please be respectful and try to stay on topic, which are suggestions not rules, and I made clear the reasons for my comments. Wow you backpedaled real hard.

    -- Posted by Raker on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 8:40 PM
  • Raker. And right above the statement of “please be respectful and try to stay on topic” in bigger letters it says “RESPOND TO THIS STORY” in capital letters. Guess I should be please that you noticed my backpedaling.

    -- Posted by Nit on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 9:13 PM
  • Nit, you are being dissmissive of the points I was making. Saying you don't want to hear it unless it's about the subject of the story. Then you say I shouldn't talk about behavior or language I think is insensitive or abusive, because it's not nice to talk about? You clearly don't agree with my points of view or else you wouldn't say that, and that's okay with me!

    -- Posted by Raker on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 9:44 PM
  • I am not sure how to understand the comments from Nit- is disrespect the same as question and disagreement or was the tone of the question and disagreement disrespectful?

    Should only positive comments and comments of agreement be submitted?

    As for why the sports comments here, I believe the author explained why

    -- Posted by beg on Mon, Mar 9, 2020, at 10:40 PM
  • Beg. I am sorry you and Raker do not agree with me. As to comments, everyone should make their honest comments; whether pro or con. My 2 comments were: one should stick to the article posted. The second comment was that it sounded like Raker was running down the newspaper editors, then went on to include other articles besides this one. I do not feel this spot is a good place to run down a business (the Banner). I am a firm believer that if you have a complaint about someone go to the horses mouth. The same goes for many Facebook issues. There s a time and a place for everything and I choose to read these comments of how one feels about the happenings in the article, whether they are for or against.

    -- Posted by Nit on Tue, Mar 10, 2020, at 7:10 AM
  • You are making an assumption. I didn't take a position on your statements. I was trying to understand them.

    -- Posted by beg on Tue, Mar 10, 2020, at 1:23 PM
  • Thank you Beg. I did reread and understand. Sorry

    -- Posted by Nit on Tue, Mar 10, 2020, at 1:45 PM
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