Depending on how Brookfield Township closes out 2020 financially, Trustee Gary Lees would like to see a little bit of money set aside to leverage a state grant for improvements to Brookfield Township Community Park.
Specifically, Lees would like to fix up or replace the picnic pavilions and improve and add trails as part of a larger effort to attract people and events to the park.
“I get calls on why there are only athletic games going on in the park and, if it were not for Jenny Junction, there would not be a place for children to play,” Lees said. “Our township park is looked upon as an outdoor athletic arena, not so much as a park.”
Lees said Jan. 4 he would like to apply to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Natureworks grant program, which assists local governments in the acquisition, development and rehabilitation of recreation areas. The state would reimburse the local government up to 75 percent of the project cost, with a maximum allocation by county of $150,000, according to the ODNR website.
The money trustees would set aside would go toward the 25-percent match, Lees said.
“I think Gary’s on to something when he starts talking about increasing the activity down at the park,” said Trustee Ron Haun, who has talked for some time about getting more people in the park.
The trustees have taken steps in the past to make the park ready for events, such us upgrading its electrical and water services.
“I think Gary’s definitely on target here on things that need to be done down at the park and where we need to concentrate our efforts down at the park on those type of projects,” Haun said.
Trustee Dan Suttles said he supports the general idea, but would need to know what money is available and how much projects might cost before making a decision.
“I think we have to look very closely though, because, and not to belabor the point, but we have asked our township residents to support the park, and they have said, no,” Suttles said.
While he agreed that the park is “more than a baseball facility,” he added, “As trustees, we have to be very prudent in spending money on something that we don’t have a flow coming in to sustain it.”
Maintenance is paid for out of the township’s general fund, which also pays for general government operations and road department expenses and projects.
Lees said the park could have money flowing into it if it attracts events such as dog shows, scout jamborees and farm and flea markets.
He said he has talked to Boy Scout representatives about holding events at the park, and they have expressed an interest in meeting with the trustees at the park. Lees added that he also is reaching out to the Trumbull County Kennel Club.
promoThe township has had a couple of meetings with the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau to talk about ways to attract people to the township and promote events that would do that.
“We don’t have a drawing card,” Lees said of the township. Regular park events “would draw outside interest,” he said.
“I am not asking for all the funds (budget carryover),” Lees said. “I am only asking for a little piece of the pie to be put aside for upgrading of the township park so that, one day, the park will become self-sufficient and self-sustained.”