London: Dog park upgrades, park bench sponsors, and EV charging stations

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(Posted Aug. 24, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Recent and upcoming improvements in the city of London run from fun stuff for pooches to installation of personalized benches and charging stations for electronic vehicles.

Josie, a 4-month-old Boxer pup, tries out one of the new tunnel runs at the London Dog Park. Josie’s human, Amy Rees, is executive assistant for the city of London’s administrative offices.

Dog Park

The city’s dog park, located at the corner of Elm Street and Keny Boulevard, now features play equipment for visiting canines.

The new features include two tunnel runs, a jump obstacle, a t-bar with tug-o-war ropes attached, and a walkup structure with a ramp on one side, steps on the other, and a shaded landing at the top. The features are located on the side of the park reserved for larger dogs.

“It’s a big, nice open field for dogs to run. This just gives them a little more stuff to play on and enjoy themselves,” said Mayor Patrick Closser.

The new equipment cost $6,900. City council approved covering the cost with general fund money. The city eliminated pricey installation fees by using a combination of volunteers and in-house employees. Members of the London City Schools administrative team and street department employees installed the equipment on Aug. 3.

“Anytime we get playground equipment, we do this. It really saves a lot of money,” said Closser, who also helped with installation.

The city opened the dog park in October 2018. The fenced-in area provides dog owners with a place to let their dogs run freely. Other amenities include doggie drinking fountains and a shelter house.

The city of London is seeking sponsors for benches at Cowling Park.

Benches

The city has started a project whereby individuals or groups can sponsor new benches at Cowling Park.

The benches cost $750 each. The cost includes a personalized plaque. Sponsors can honor loved ones or recognize local community organizations on the plaques.

“People are loving these benches,” Closser said, “but I’ve also heard and seen people saying that they’re so expensive.”

He noted the benches are of high quality and built to last. They are six feet long, made out of recycled materials, feature cast aluminum frames, and attach to concrete pads. He emphasized that the project is not a money-maker for the city. The benches themselves cost $750; the city covers the cost of the engraved plaques and cement pads on which the benches sit.

“We actually lose a little bit (of money) by doing each one, but it’s a great thing for our community,” Closser said.

To date, the city has installed four benches around the Park’s playground equipment, giving parents places to sit and watch their children play. A sponsor for a fifth bench recently contacted the city. As more sponsors come in, the plan is to continue to add benches where needed and replace existing benches.

For details about sponsoring a bench, contact Amy Rees at the city administrative office, 20 S. Walnut St., Suite 100, (740) 852-3243, arees@londonohio.gov.

Electronic Vehicle Charging Stations

The city is one step closer to installing charging stations for electronic vehicles at two downtown sites.

On Aug. 19, city council members voted to set aside $30,000 to purchase three charging stations. Once the stations are installed, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will reimburse the city for the expense.

Rees, executive assistant for the city’s administrative offices, spearheaded the project, applying for and receiving the EPA grant. Initially, the grant was going to cover two double port charging stations. Prices have dropped, Rees said, so the city is adding a single port station to the project’s scope.

One of the double port stations will be located in the city’s public parking lot at the corner of Oak Street and Second Avenue. A single port unit will sit along the curb on Second Avenue.

The other double port station is destined for the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue in parking spaces at Cowling Park, across from Madison Health.

All three stations are designed for users to top off their vehicles rather than for full charges.

While the grant program permits the city to charge users for the electricity they consume, Rees said there are no plans to do so at this time.

The city has ordered the stations. Installation will take place later this year.

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