Orange Township officials can’t wait to hold movies in the park, thanks to State Rep. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, who introduced a bill in the Ohio House allowing townships to use public funds for community park activities.

House Bill 361, which was introduced by Brenner, has been signed by Gov. John Kasich but contains a 90-day wait period.

“We have to wait 90 days for the bill to take effect,” said Trustee Debbie Taranto. “It won’t take so much work next year.”

The township will show “Despicable Me 2” July 30 in North Orange Park once it gets dark enough to show the movie. Taranto’s Pizzeria, Evan Farms, City Trunk and Hock International will sponsor the movie night, with the assistance of the Genoa and Concord township fire departments.

Taranto said the parks board decided to find sponsors so park levy money wasn’t spent on the event. “They posted several movies on social media and let the residents decide,” Taranto said. “It’s a great idea to bring the community together.”

Taranto had approached Brenner earlier this year about sponsoring legislation allowing levy revenue to be spent on community events. “He immediately said yes,” Taranto said.

The need for the bill, Taranto told The Gazette in May, came up when Orange Township wanted to sponsor a “movie in the park night” during the summer of 2015. Before authorizing funds from the park levy for the movies, township trustees consulted with their attorney.

According to Taranto, attorneys seem to have different opinions on whether townships could use park levy revenues to hold community events. “Some people said we could and some people said we can’t,” Taranto said. “I got tired of it and called Andy.”

House Bill 361 gives authorization to township trustees and boards of park commissioners to spend funds for the public purpose of presenting community events in their parks and at other recreational facilities. “Just by changing the law we won’t have to worry about it,” Taranto said.

Brenner told The Gazette in May that he could see how this type of event can bring people and families of communities together. “By restoring control of park revenue to the townships, it allows them to host community events for families,” he said.

By D. Anthony Botkin

[email protected]

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.