BY LEW MOORES
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP -- Work could begin by fall on improvements at Colerain Park, made possible by a grant for almost $85,000 announced this week by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The NatureWorks grant is a very competitive award, and the township was one of just six communities in Hamilton County to receive one this year.
All together, 18 county communities and agencies applied to the state program, looking for more than $1.9 million in grant money this year. A little more than $798,000 was handed out.
Colerain's grant, supplemented by a 25 percent match from the township, will be used to improve facilities at Colerain Park, off Springdale Road.
Restrooms will be upgraded, said Greg Snyder, services supervisor for the township, as well as lighting, the ballfield and the parking lot. A tennis court, now in bad shape, will be converted to a basketball court.
"We're very happy," said Mr. Snyder. "With the Megaland (the park's newest addition, a playground that opened last fall) down there and all the increased attendance we have, we could really use the improvements more than ever."
This was the first NatureWorks grant the township has been awarded by the ODNR. Across the state, Ohio communities received 204 NatureWorks grants representing more than $11 million. This is the fourth year of the NatureWorks grants.
The 204 were chosen from among 352 applicants. Grants totaling more than $44 million have been awarded since voters approved the Ohio Parks and Natural Resources Fund bond issue in November 1993. "What it means for Colerain Township residents is we're serious about upgrading park facilities," said Trustee Joseph Wolterman. "It's a good shot in the arm for the township. Hopefully, it will increase traffic even more in the park."
Mr. Wolterman said the news of the grant dovetails with a report due soon from the parks advisory board on improving all of the township parks.
Trustee Keith Corman said the grant recognizes the township is involving people in recreation and upgrading park facilities. "It will all be put to good use," said Mr. Corman.
Mr. Snyder said the township has been wanting to make improvements at Colerain Park for years.