Groveport Park is evolving

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 Map courtesy of the village of Groveport
 Formerly a farm, Groveport Park includes a one mile leisure path, two ponds, eight softball/baseball diamonds, soccer fields, the historic Ohio and Erie Canal Lock 22, woodland, wetlands, a connection to the Blacklick Trail nature trail, the Groveport Recreation Center, and the Groveport Aquatic Center.

When people think of Groveport Park they often first think of the state of the art Groveport Recreation Center or the aquatic park. But Groveport Park is much more and there are plans to enhance it even further.

Once farm land, the 82 acre park, which opened in 2003 and is located on Groveport Road at Richardson Road, is the largest of Groveport’s eight parks. It’s vast green space is an inviting location for leisure and competitive activities.

"I don’t know of any other community with roughly 5,000 residents that has such an extensive park system," said Groveport Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Lund.

The park is home to 46 adult softball teams as well as the teams of the Groveport Youth Athletic Association (GYAA). Though most of the area soccer teams play at Cruiser Park, the travel soccer team Phoenix  rents two fields at Groveport Park for its home games. The park also hosts events such as the annual marshmallow drop, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Punt, Pass & Kick Competition, "Resolution Run," and Cops & Kids Day.

Park enhancements planned

"Groveport Park is used by many residents and non-residents daily," said Lund. "Because of its size, many amenities can still be added to the park without the park feeling crowded."

Lund said potential future improvements include: additional baseball diamond fencing, tennis courts, picnic shelters, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, a dog park, additional playground equipment, athletic field lighting, concession stand with restrooms, and paving the lower southeast parking lot.

"Staff hopes to have the park’s first playground installed in the spring of 2008 after being awarded a $42,157 Nature Works grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources," said Lund.

Other improvements budgeted for the park include:

•$27,000 in baseball fencing in 2009 and $36,000 in baseball fencing in 2010;

•$55,000 park shelter in 2010;

•$20,000 marquee sign in 2012.

Groveport Park isn’t the only park in the village that will receive enhancements. In 2008 Blacklick Park is slated to receive a $50,000 shelter house and $10,700 in parking lot resurfacing; Degenhart Park is scheduled to have two more tennis courts installed at a cost of $80,000; and $5,500 worth of benches for tiered seating is planned for Heritage Park.

Also, $163,500 has been budgeted for a skate park at a location yet to be determined.

Importance of community parks

Lund gave 10 reasons why parks are vital to communities. He said parks:

•provide people with a place to be physically active;

•have economic benefits as park land enhances property values;

•provide valuable green space that buffer development, protect floodplains, and offers storm water protection;

•provide a place for wildlife as deer, fox, coyote, turkey, fish, turtles, snakes, skunks, groundhogs, and many types of birds have been seen in or near Groveport’s parks;

•provide a meeting place for people to interact;

•provide a place to unwind from the stress of everyday life;

•offer places for both organized and unstructured recreation;

•provide children with a safe refuge;

•provide access to leisure regardless of ability; and

•embody the American tradition of preserving public land.

"Regardless of one’s socioeconomic status, a person can visit a public park to walk, jog, bike, rollerblade, walk the dog, and more," observed Lund. "A park that is close to your home is a key factor linking whether or not a person will become active and stay active."

For information on Groveport’s parks, call the Groveport Parks and Recreation Department at (614) 836-1000 or visit www.groveport.org.

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