On Nov. 8 Orange Township residents approved a 1 mill parks renewal levy.
“Parks have always been a big thing in Orange Township,” said Barrett Ault, chairman of the parks board. “We as a parks board want to say thank you. It was clear that residents are for the parks in the township,” Ault said.
More projects are in the works as a result of the passage.
The parks renewal levy was reduced from 1.5 mill to 1 mill on the recommendation of Parks Director Beth Hugh. Hugh also recommended using the leftover .5 mill for a new roads levy, which voters also approved in the general election.
According to Hugh, parks currently has a “fund status of $6.2 million.” She said the status includes planned parks projects, payroll and maintenance through the end of the year.
Hugh said, since 2008 Orange Township parks has been awarded $3.7 million in grants for park projects, with another $850,000 still pending.
Ault said, “Beth spends tireless hours working on grants to get free money for the parks.”
Ault said the next big project is the 22-acre North Road Park. She said it will have several soccer fields, concessions, parking for up to 300 vehicles, a pond with running water and a one mile trail around its perimeter. “We’re hoping to hold soccer tournaments at the park,” she said.
The land for the park was donated by the Columbus based reality company Planned Communities in the late 1990s early 2000s, Ault said.
“The cost for the sight work only is $3.2 million, it doesn’t have anything to do with the playground, the concessions, and utilities,” Ault said. “This is our biggest project that we’re currently working on now that the Orange Bridge Park is completed.”
Hugh said, the estimated cost to build the concessions and playground is $1.1 million, bringing the total estimated cost of the project to $4.3 million.
Ault said the North Road park project has been in the works for years, but working through the “mitigation” process takes a lot of time. It’s a process that can take months or even years.
“The area has to be fully mitigated and fully tested,” she said. “We live in an area where there may be arrowheads or wetlands.”
The neighbors from the area have been helpful. “They have been coming to every meeting with suggestions,” Ault said.
The board plans to break ground early spring 2017, but it will not be ready for use until 2018.
“Because of the irrigation of the soccer fields and making sure the grass is seeded and planted correctly,” Ault said. “There is so much that goes into it.”
The major grant the board is working on is to move the path on Artesian Road to go under Home Road.
“These are big projects that cost millions of dollars,” Ault said.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.
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