By Megan Alley
Clermont County recently selected the first cycle of recipients for its Park District Community Parks Grant Program; the Park District Board of Park Commissioners awarded more than $104,000 to 13 projects.
The grant program is made possible by the park commissioners as part of the park district’s property tax levy; the park commissioners originally authorized the distribution of up to $100,000 for the 2017 program, but recently approved an additional $4,000 in award money.
Any township, village and city that owns and maintains parks within Clermont County was eligible for the 2017 grant program. Each entity was permitted to submit up to two applications, and each application could request up to $20,000.
“One of our goals with the levy was to be able to improve parks throughout Clermont County,” Chris Clingman, park district director, said. “This is a way for them to create those improvements and provide safe parks for people to visit, and meet community needs.”
The park district received a total of 20 applications, which were due Oct. 6.
The projects selected for funding are:
— $9,519.35 to the village of Amelia for play equipment, a shade structure and park bench at Groh Park;
— $6,900 to Batavia Township for a lightening warning system at Batavia Township Community Park;
— $15,100 to the Goshen Park District for work on the restroom facility at Kathryn Stagge-Marr Community Park;
— $20,000 to Jackson Township to be used towards the cost of a restroom facility at Marathon Community Park;
— $6,352.22 to Monroe Township for lighting and security cameras at Fair Oak Park, to help deter vandalism, which has recently plagued the park;
— $1,000 to Monroe Township for certified playground mulch at state Route 222 and Fair Oak Parks;
— $5,975 to Ohio Township to help repair the paved walking trail at Ohio Township Park;
— $11,250 to Pierce Township for a new prefabricated bridge on the walking trail at Pierce Township Park;
— $14,466 to Wayne Township for a picnic shelter, playground equipment and picnic tables at Wayne Township Community Center;
— $935 to the village of New Richmond for new park benches at Rose Vesper Park;
— $1,000 to New Richmond for certified playground mulch at Rose Vesper and Union Station Parks;
— $7,069 to the village of Owensville to seal and stripe the parking lot and to extend the conduit for electric and security cameras at the basketball court at Gauche Park; and
— $5,140 to the village of Williamsburg for security lighting and fencing for the sewer lift station and for the backstop of the baseball field at the Community Park.
The selection committee, which included Clingman, prioritized projects that “made parks safer.”
“A lot of what we looked at were things that needed repair or to be replaced to make a park safer,” Clingman explained. “Safety was an issue overall because we understand that sometimes you just don’t have the money to do what you want to do safety wise; these projects addressed those concerns.”
The committee also funded projects that increased park accessibility.
“For instance, with Goshen and Jackson Townships, they needed to develop restrooms to make them truly useable; one of the things that we wanted to help to make the parks useable for guests,” Clingman added.
Now, the park district is looking ahead to the 2018 grant program.
“We’re hoping to start the next round earlier in the year,” Clingman said. “Obviously we couldn’t fund everybody this cycle … we encourage people that didn’t get selected to reapply in 2018.”
He added, “We look forward to helping the communities in coming years.”