Friday, February 09, 2001

Middletown park to be reborn

Soccer fields part of plan

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN — A plan to redevelop a portion of Jacot Park into a soccer mecca for the 1,600 children in the Middletown Youth Soccer Association got a financial boost this week.

        City commissioners not only approved development plans for the park, but pledged $200,000 this year and $50,000 in 2002.

        The project is led by David Pearce,who grew up near the park.

   The group developing the park is looking for people or companies willing to donate cash, services or materials to the project. Suggestions for donations include concrete, fencing, mulch, grass seed, gravel, asphalt, topsoil or a sprinkling system. Those willing to help can call Mr. Pearce during working hours at 985-5014.
        “We were really pleased a neighborhood group took it upon themselves to give us a park of this scope,” said Denise Bolton, Middletown parks and recreation administrator.

        “This is the largest project done (by a community group) in 20-plus years.”

        Planned for the 17.2-acre park on Middletown's east side are six unlighted practice soccer fields and one lighted soccer field. They are to be known as the AK Steel Soccer Fields at Jacot Park.

        There will also be a one-mile, 10-foot-wide asphalt walking trail, picnic shelters, restrooms, storage, off-street parking for 120 cars, a fenced playground and a new basketball court.

        Bordered on the north by Tarrimore Circle, the east by Valley View Drive, the west by the Middletown Shopping Center and the south by Grand Avenue, the project has the approval of the city's park board and the 25 families whose property abuts the park.

        Neighbor Gretchan Senft, who has fond memories of playing in the park as a child, said neighbors like the plans. She's looking forward to bringing her two sons, ages 2 and 4, to the fenced playground.

        “We bought here a year ago just to be close to the park. I grew up next to it and was disappointed to see it decline rapidly the last 10 years because no money was being put into it,” said Mrs. Senft, who lives on Tarri more Circle.

        “I couldn't be more excited. It offers all kinds of opportunities. The first two words my youngest son put together were "go park.'”

        Including the city's commitment, about $600,000 of the $750,000 needed for the project has been raised, Mr. Pearce said.

        Major contributors include the AK Steel Foundation, $250,000; the Middletown Community Foundation, $100,000, to be paid over four years; Bank One, $50,000; and the soccer association, $10,000.

        Kleingers & Associates, whose owner, Jim Kleingers, grew up playing baseball at the park, will do engineering and architectural work on the project.

        Mr. Pearce said construction is expected to begin this spring, with soccer fields ready by the fall 2002 season.


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