New administrator moves forward with area projects

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Prairie Township has hired its new administrator.

Rob Peters will serve as the new township administrator for Prairie Township, replacing Tracy Hatmaker. Starting in January, Peters said he was interested in this position after learning about the variety of new projects Prairie Township has in the pipeline.

“I was looking for an opportunity for career advancement and liked what was going on in the township with the recreation department and the new sports complex on Galloway Road,” Peters said. “I also was interested in the economic development with Broad Street and the new I-270 interchange project.”

The former director of economic development for the city of Streetsboro, Peters is interested in using those skills to continue grow the township.

“Once I get settled and complete some of these projects that are already in progress, I will start evaluating other opportunities for economic development in the community,” Peters said. “I also will look at what the community needs are and projects that will meet those needs.”

Currently, the township has several projects under way. Among these projects is the Galloway Road Sports Complex. This 111-acre complex will feature baseball fields, soccer fields, a walking trail, a fishing pond and a concession’s stand.

“If we have a good growing season, we anticipate some of the fields will be open for limited use in late summer 2019,” Peters said. “Phase two also is currently under way, which includes working on traffic improvements.”

The township is continuing to explore the idea of creating a community garden on township-owned property at 161 Cole Road.

“I have seen a preliminary design of the proposed facility, but nothing has been finalized,” Peters said. “We are still evaluating what the best use is for this property.”

The 20-acre property offers plenty of space to develop a community garden, but there is limited parking, as well as water access issues. One solution for accessing water could be having a water tank on the property that gardeners can use to water the plants.

Organizers have discussed keeping the garden small at first and then growing the garden as more residents become involved. They also discussed selling plots to residents and eventually having classes where they use township plots to teach participants how to grow their own produce.

The township trustees had discussed having a community garden at Evergreen Terrace and Carl Frye Park, but because of zoning and restrictions in these neighborhoods, these locations did not work.

At the same property, township leadership have also discussed creating a dog park and natural play area. However, according to Prairie Township Community Center Director James Gant, the township would need grants to create these new recreation locations.

The township also has made progress with their partners on the I-270 interchange project related to the maintenance of the interchange.

“We have made progress in terms of maintenance on this project and are moving forward with bidding out this project,” Peters said. “We are looking forward to working with Franklin Township, Franklin County and our other partners.”

The new West Broad Street and I-270 interchange project would improve the landscaping around the West Broad Street and I-270 interchange. The project is a collaboration between Franklin Township, Prairie Township, Franklin County, Hollywood Casino, Columbus, Weston Vision and Haydocy.

The project will include adding landscaping, LED lighting over the underpass and sculptures to the interchange. The annual maintenance of the interchange will cost between $30,000 and $60,000 a year and organizers are looking for eight partners to pay approximately $4,500 to $7,500 each per year for the next 20 years.

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