Monday, March 10, 2003

Deerfield to present park plan

It depends on 1-mill replacement levy

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DEERFIELD TWP. - From an amphitheater to campgrounds, the township is unveiling a master plan for expanding its parks and open spaces tonight.

The meeting, which is open to the pubic, starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Snyder House at the township's Cottell Park, 5847 Irwin-Simpson Road. The session will include a presentation by the Poggemeyer Design Group of Bowling Green, which is developing the plans.

Among the ideas for the township's parks are hiking trails, play areas and flower gardens, and baseball and soccer fields. If all the concepts were implemented, the project could cost upward of $6 million over several years, Parks Director Tony Lavatori said.

The plans are nearly identical to the ones viewed at a series of open houses in January, which were attended by roughly 50 people.

"The changes were minor," Lavatori said. "These have a better layout and a better design of where things should be."

The plan comes while the township is hoping voters will pass a 1-mill replacement levy for park and recreational purposes. The issue, on the May 6 ballot, would generate $725,097.

The township also is applying for grants to help pay for aspects of the parks. Most likely, the first to be developed would be the hiking and bike trails, Lavatori said.

"We like to get something up that's usable so we can spread the money out and get a lot up," he said about building the parks. "Then, over time, we can build on it and make it something more of indicative of what people want in their neighborhood."

The largest of the parks is the 70-acre property in Kings Mills, purchased for $2 million by the township in 2001. Plans call for an amphitheater that would be cut into the grading of the land and a "primitive camping" area, Lavatori said.

The township is still deciding what to do with the King Mansion, which is located on the property, but some residents' ideas have included a bed and breakfast or a restaurant.

"Some of these things are three to 10 years out," he said.


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