Orange Township celebrated its bicentennial Sunday by unveiling the name Orange Bridge Park for the 1.5-acre park next to the bridge crossing over U.S. 23. When trustees rejected the name of “Bridge Park” they decided to hold a contest to let residents choose the name.
“We went out to the community because we wanted to see what they felt this should be called,” said Trustee Rob Quigley. “They felt this is the most appropriate name and I’m in full support of it.”
There was a historical name that stood out to Trustee Debbie Taranto, but wasn’t the number one choice. “My personal favorite was Mud Pike because I like the historical significance of it,” she said. “But I’m on board with Orange Bridge Park.”
The day was dedicated to Luella Martin Yarnell, who lived her entire life in Orange Township and had compiled the history of the township into a book. Yarnell’s son, Ken, spoke at the ceremony Sunday afternoon.
“As time progresses and cropland and pastures are covered by asphalt, homes, parks, schools and businesses and the only evidence of the past will be found in museums, libraries and government offices,” Yarnell said. “Our family is proud to know that our mother’s years of work will be available to anyone seeking information about the beginnings of Orange Township of Delaware County, Ohio.”
Luella died Jan. 14, 2016.
As a testament to the recent growth of the township, Barrett Ault of the parks board, said she was born and raised in the township growing up in the 1990s and 2000s. “We lived in several different areas of the township,”she said. “I left, but accurately came back and knew I wanted to raise my family here.”
When she left for college there wasn’t a lot of parks, but they were being planned. “The park part of it has really grown a lot since I was gone,” she said. “Coming back and seeing the amount of parks and trails was really impressive. I hope my children live here and be just as involved as I have.”
The trustees were asked what they thought the area would be like in 100 years.
“You never know, 100-years is a long time,” Quigley said. “You don’t know what is going to happen. All we can do is what we believe is right for the community and make it the best place to live.”
“It will be a city by then,” said Taranto.
During the ceremony Taranto recognized past trustees who she said were instrumental in the growth of the township. “Mr. Quigley and I are very grateful today because they set the corner stone for us to make good decisions moving forward,” she said.
County Commissioner Jeff Benton, a resident of the township, read a proclamation signed by the county commissioners, “The board of Delaware County Commissioners does here by recognize and join in the bicentennial anniversary celebration for Orange Township,” Benson read. “This board of Delaware County Commissioners wishes continued prosperity, growth and success to everyone in Orange Township.”
Township Administrator Lee Bodnar read a proclamation from Gov. John Kasich congratulating the township on its bicentennial anniversary and encouragingresidents to use the occasion to “celebrate the rich history associated with the community” and to “reflect and honor the places, people and events associated associated with the Orange Township historic past and people of the township.”
He also read a letter of recognition from U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, “Since its founding, Orange Township has maintained the small town charm and values so in grained in the community. Orange Township is poised to continue its proud prosperity brought about by its proud residents.”
Township official collected various items from residents to place in time capsule which is to be opened on Oct. 9, 2116. According to Amanda Sheterom, spokesperson, the capsule is to be buried at the township hall.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.