Family-friendly events planned at community center


By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

The Prairie Township Community Center plans to offer some new programming in the upcoming months.

The topic was discussed at a recent board meeting.

Among these activities will be the annual Father/Daughter Date Night and a Mother/Son Adventure Night. The Father/Daughter Date Night will take place at 6 p.m. Feb. 2 at the community center and the Mother/Son Adventure Night will take place at 6 p.m. April 6, also at the community center.

For the girls and their dads, the evening will feature dinner, dancing and a keepsake photo to commemorate the evening. For boys and their moms, the evening will include dinner and a variety of activities, including kickball and dodgeball.

“A lot of time parents don’t know one-on-one activities they can do with their kids,” said James Gant, director of the community center. “These programs are great because we take care of everything, so parents and kids just have to come and have fun.”

Some of the other new programing that will be offered at the community center this winter and spring includes a gymnastics program for kids and adult cooking classes.

“We are always trying to expand our programing, especially our recreational activities for kids,” Gant said. “The biggest challenge is finding quality instructors to teach the classes.”

Another focus for the community center this year will be refining their indoor garden, as well as starting a community garden in the spring. According to Gant, they need to tweak the soil in the current indoor garden to ensure all the plants thrive, something they have learned after launching the garden this past fall.

“We also are hoping to start a community garden this spring,” he added. “We are looking at having it at property in South Lincoln Village. The Land Bank owns some property in this region and may let us use it.”

Gant said if they do launch a community garden, they also would try to create a gardening class via the community center.

Officials hope the Prairie Township Farmer’s Market also will continue to grow this year, including adding more vendors.

When the farmer’s market first launched there were approximately eight vendors, the second year the market had 13 vendors and last year the market had 17 vendors. This year, officials hope to see that number continue to increase.

In 2018, the market will continue to participate in the Veggie SNAP Program.

“This worked out really well for us last year,” Gant said. “It brought in more people and participants were ale to double up on their purchases and get more with their benefits.”

Finally, in an effort to continue to beautify the community, the township will be participating in a Cost Share Street Tree Program. This program will offer residents a significant discount on trees if residents plant them in the right away.

“Because we are a municipality, we buy a lot more trees than the average person, so we get bulk discounts,” Gant said. “If residents buy certain trees and agree to plant them in the right-of-way, we will also plant them for them.”

Some of the approved trees residents can purchase include the sugar maple, sweet gum, willow oak, red oak, Japanese pagoda tree and hybrid elm. A tree with a 1.5-inch caliper would cost $150 and a tree with a 2- inch caliper would cost $175.

“Normally, these trees cost between $300 and $500,” Gant said. “This is a significant savings to residents and they don’t have deal with the planting.”

Gant said that the reason the township wants to encourage residents to plant street trees is because it enhances the township.

“Street trees help with calming traffic, they make the community more walkable because people feel safer when there are street trees and they reduce storm water runoff,” he said. “There are a lot of benefits to adding streets trees to the community.”

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