Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Schneider Park beginning to take shape - Canton, OH - CantonRep.com

Schneider Park beginning to take shape - Canton, OH - CantonRep.com

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PLAIN TWP. — .A generous donation and a state grant have helped advance the development of Schneider Community Park.

Township officials are hoping residents can begin using portions of the park next year.

“I’m just glad we have something happening there now,” Plain Trustee Al Leno said of the park’s development.

Plain Township bought the former cornfield on the south side of Schneider Street NE, across from the GlenOak High School campus, in 2006 for $1.27 million. Trustees have relied on community suggestions as the park has developed.

Plans are to create an area for passive sports and recreational activities, including picnic areas and hiking trails.

Already in place is a picnic pavilion donated by the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, Washington Council and installed by Snider & Associates, Inc. of North Royalton, Ohio. The organization spent about $37,000 installing the pavilion and donating picnic tables, said Todd Alexander, parks superintendent.

“It’s a big shelter. It’s almost an oversized shelter. It’s nice,” Leno said.

Right now, the shelter — setting on the east side of a hill that rises at the park’s center — is a focal point for the park.

Next year, township officials plan to install a playground area just to the north and down the hill from the pavilion. A parking lot will be built on the east side of the property, providing access to the pavilion and playground.

South of the parking lot, several acres will be set aside for a dog park.

Alexander and Leno hope all the work can be finished in 2010. How much is completed will depend on the cost. The township has about $300,000 — collected through estate taxes — set aside for the park.

“We’ll use the money that’s budgeted,” Leno said.

Bolstering township money is a Nature Works grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that will help pay for playground equipment.

Plain Township will spend $113,990 to buy and install the playground. Once the work is finished and inspected by ODNR workers, the township will receive the $59,320 grant. The money will go back to the fund set aside for park development.

Because of funding, the park is being developed in phases. The picnic area and playground are part of the first phase, along with the parking lot and dog park.

The parking lot will be built first, Leno and Alexander said. They hope the expense can be offset by having township road crews do some of the parking area’s construction.

Money remaining after the parking lot is built will be used to develop three to four acres in the southeast corner for the dog park. Alexander said the dog park will be Schneider Park’s niche offering for residents.

Alexander and Leno figure it will be a few more years before the park’s western portion is developed. Plans call for a lake, an amphitheater, more parking and other amenities.

Until that portion can be developed, Alexander hopes to cut hiking trails. He wants to take exercise equipment that had been at Alpine Park and use it on one of the trails, creating a course that combines hiking with calisthenics.

The township also is working with Stark Parks to tie in with the countywide hiking trails being developed. Plans call for a trail to go around the GlenOak campus perimeter and cross Schneider Street into the new park.

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