Brookfield Township Park is “probably one of the biggest assets in the community,” said township Trustee Ron Haun.
Kids play baseball and softball on the ball fields, parents bring their children to romp on the playground, dog owners walk their pets, and hikers use the trails.
“The people that use it, enjoy it,” he said.
However, there are times when few people are in the park, even in good weather, and the township’s comprehensive plan recommends holding more activities at the park.
“What’s the next step?” Haun asked Friday of two representatives of Trumbull County Soil and Water Conservation District.
That’s a question to be answered by the community, said conservation district Administrator Amy Reeher.
“How do you want to use the park?” Storm Water Specialist Marcus Hollenbank asked back.
Haun called a trustees meeting at the park to discuss the quality of the streams – Haun said he fears mine drainage and septic tanks are tainting the water – learn about possible funding sources for improvement projects and ask for advice.
While Reeher and Hollenbank agreed with Haun that testing the stream water was a good idea, there are things that could be done now to improve the streams, such as not mowing up to the edge of the stream along the parking lot at the back of the park.
Letting vegetation grow along the stream channel “filters out things you’re worried about,” Reeher said.
The township could plant water-loving vegetation along the stream, helping keep soil in place and attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife, Reeher said.
Reeher said she has been involved with schools whose students test water quality by analyzing what is living in waterways. That could be done in Brookfield if the school district is interested, she said, noting there are many other ways school students could study in the park.
“This could potentially be a land lab for them,” Reeher said, noting she has a relationship with the middle school, which sends students to the Envirothon environmental challenge. “We have curriculum available for them.”
Haun said he wants the school involved in the park and invited school Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor to the meeting, but she called and said she would be unable to attend.
Aside from school officials, contact Scout troops, 4-H groups, local environmental and garden clubs, and anyone who has an interest in the park about forming a committee to examine the park and set goals, Reeher said.
Reeher and Hollenbank pledged to help in any way they can, but said only members of the Brookfield community can decide what they want from the park and how to improve it.
“When you guys manage the park, what are you managing for?” Reeher said. “What’s your long-term goal?”