By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester’s Westchester and Guiler parks are getting a facelift.
Nearly $60,000 in improvements are planned for the parks including new climbing features, additional swings and security lights.
Canal Winchester Public Works Director Matt Peoples said his department merged unused funds from eight accounts to cobble together the necessary funding for the end-of-the-year parks project.
“We’ll put in four new regular swings and two new tot swings (in Westchester), climbing structures and some play items,” said Peoples. “We’re very excited about it.”
Plans for the Dietz Road playground include two large reinforced climbing rocks and a faux log children can scramble over and under.
“It’s a little more nature-inspired theme at Westchester,” said Peoples. “It’s going to be a really nice feature out there.”
Guiler Park improvements include replacing aging timbers with plastic ones, along with new mulch, upgrades to the shelter house, removal of an old telephone pole and the installation of two new security lights.
“It’s getting a little older and we’re trying to spruce it up a little,” said Peoples.
Community Watch Program
The city hopes to continue its Community Watch Program, but with only a handful of active volunteers. Organizers say it is difficult to staff as many four-hour patrols as desired.
“With only five people, you can’t get the car out on the road a lot,” said zone four Watch Captain Gary Bush. “We enjoy doing it and it’s a big benefit to the community. We’re not a replacement for deputies, but we’re additional eyes and ears.”
Canal Winchester resident Mary Jane Metcalf, and her husband, John, went through 40 hours of training to join the Community Watch. They donate their time during one four-hour shift a week.
“We’ve been involved with the Community Watch since it first began,” said Mary Jane. “We patrol around the area and hit different areas, sometimes spending an hour in just one place like Westchester. We’ve done lockouts and helped the sheriff’s office with apprehending a couple of kids who vandalized the dugouts. The Watch is a good way to serve the community and get to know the neighborhood. We also sometimes patrol on our bikes. It’s a great opportunity for a husband and wife.”
Bush said the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office has 10 people signed up for the next round of training, but needs at least 15 individuals to conduct a class.
All costs are covered by the sheriff’s office, including training and uniforms. To volunteer, individuals must be age 21 or older, a citizen, possess a valid Ohio driver’s license, pass a full background check, never been convicted of a felony, have no illegal drug use or related charges in the last five years, be able to deal with confidential information and possess good public speaking skills.
Volunteers are supervised by a sworn law enforcement liaison officer who monitors the performance of patrols under their jurisdiction.
Volunteers also participate in parades and festivals.
For information on the Community Watch program, contact the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 653-5223 or visit www.sheriff.fairfield.oh.us.
Other Canal Winchester news
Canal Winchester City Council approved ordinances refinancing 2004 bonds for water tank, street and sanitary sewer improvements. Finance Director Amanda Jackson estimates by taking action at this time—with interest rates expected to rise—the city can save $700,000 over a 10 period.