Representatives from Canal Winchester requested to meet with Pickerington officials to discuss a joint parks district.
Pickerington Parks and Recreation Director Steve Carr said he did not know what Canal Winchester had in mind, but that joint park districts between cities are not common. Usually, park districts form between cities and school districts or cities and townships.
Pickerington Park Commission member Susan Green said that Violet Township is "absolutely interested in a joint park district."
Pickerington Councilwoman Tricia Sanders said last fall she visited more than 1,000 homes and did not meet anyone against a joint park district.
"They don’t want to pay for it all (by themselves)," Sanders said. "(The response) seemed very positive."
If a joint park district formed, it would exist as an autonomous body similar to the school district. Instead of receiving city funding, the new district would depend on voters to approve park levies. Although not yet quantified, the park levy would be "significantly less" than school levies.
If the Pickerington Local School District passes its 7.9 mill levy on March 4, the school district promises to remain off the ballot "for as long as possible." Carr said the proposed joint district should take advantage of the school’s absence to place is own issue on the ballot.
New park property
At the Feb. 5 Pickerington City Council meeting, an ordinance will be introduced to spend $300,000 for the acquisition of new park property. Carr said he could not offer additional information by press time due to negotiations with the current landowner.
Disk golf course
The new Simsbury Park disk golf course off State Route 256 just east of downtown will be completed this spring. Finishing touches such as seeding grass and installing benches will conclude in time for the park to host a disk golf tournament the first week in June.
Pickerington’s course will be "one of the finest in Central Ohio", Carr said.
The Professional Disc Golf Association describes how to play on their Web site at www.pdga.com.
Sanders said the new park is exciting, especially for middle school students.
"It’s a neat thing for Pickerington to have," Sanders said.
Equipment in limbo
Faced with uncertain funding, planned additions and improvements to Pickerington’s parks remain in limbo.
Playground equipment purchased last fall for Victory Park sits in a Columbus warehouse until the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department can afford to install it.
An $18,500 Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant paid for the equipment, which will be used by middle school and elementary children. Before installation, a survey must be completed and the old equipment removed.
The city also plans to purchase equipment for preschoolers. The completed playground will be twice the size of the existing area.
Carr said he did not know if the department would receive the $24,000 needed to complete the project by spring.
Impact fees of $1,608 per new house fund the department. In 2007, only 100 new homes were built, a decrease from 130 in 2006, which was a significant drop from the previous few years.
Residents have expressed an interest in creating a Pickerington dog park.
Carr said the department does not own any land that would lend itself easily to a dog park. One possible location would be 35 acres the city owns between the Stonebridge and Preston Trails subdivisions.
A parking lot could be added near the water treatment plant on Hill Road that is adjacent to the southeast corner of the lot.
Usually dog parks are not built beside existing residents. Neighbors from Stonebridge and Preston Trails opposed a previous plan to convert the property to playing fields.
Carr said a dog park would only be a possibility, "If we can get residents not to storm city hall."