Postcard promotion in Prairie questioned

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Officials in Prairie Township want to promote their upcoming event the Dash and Dine 5K.

At a recent meeting, the board of trustees agreed to spend over $5,000 to mail postcards to community members advertising the event.

The Dash and Dine 5K will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 22 on North Murray Hill.

“The idea is that people will participate and then enjoy a community dinner together after,” said James Gant, director the community center. “Family and friends that come can get in on the fun by watching the dash and then enjoying the community activities after.”

According to Prairie Township Community Center Facility Supervisor Michael Pollack, the purpose behind the postcard is to encourage all Westside residents to participate, regardless of if they live in the township.

“These postcards would cost 15 cents each and will be sent to most of western Columbus and suburbs advertising the event,” Pollack said. “We would like to send out 35,909 postcards.”

Some residents noted that previously the township spent several thousand dollars to send out other materials advertising activities at the community center and it did not result in extra participation.

“The money we are using for this has already been budgeted within community center’s budget,” Pollack said. “This time, we also are using a different company that specializes in printing of postcards and post office delivery.”

According to Pollack, in January the township paid $4,790 to a printing company to print the Prairie Township Community Center’s Activity Guide and distribute it as a door hanging brochure. However, residents and the trustees complained they did not received it and the township did not see a return on investment in the doorhangers.

“Part of the reasonability of the community center is to build community, so this falls in line with this initiative,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “The first time we did this it didn’t work out and distribution was not effective. However, I give the community center credit for sticking with this and not giving up after the first time.”

However, some residents said it still seems like a waste of money considering the results of the last advertisement and argued that the event has been featured in the local newspaper, can be emailed to area residents and is already prominently displayed on the township’s website.

Residents also asked what the benefit of events like this are in the township and where the money raised from this event will go.

“It improves the quality of life and also helps our property values,” Hatmaker said. “All the money raised will go back into community center operations.”

In other news, the board approved allowing the fire department to sell township assets, including the wheels and tires from the chief’s vehicle. They also will allow the fire department to enter into a contract with Ohio Health as an American Heart Association Training Center for CPR.

The board will also review possible traffic calming measures on Beacon Hill near Buena Vista.

“These traffic calming measures could include roundabouts, bump outs or other types of measures,” Hatmaker said.

There will be a public meeting on the matter Aug. 16 before the regularly scheduled trustees meeting.

Finally, residents asked the board about what is being done to treat the plants on West Broad Street and which fund is paying for this care.

“We have replaced any plants that have died and are investigating why that happened,” Hatmaker said. “The JEDZ and the general fund pay for the West Broad Street upkeep.”

Residents were sensitive when the township added the median landscaping to West Broad Street, concerned that the traffic would kill the plants. In an effort to ensure that doesn’t happen, Prairie Township installed an irrigation system and invested in super salt tolerant plants that would survive in the winter.

“We have taken substantial steps to ensure the weeds are controlled and the plants thrive in this environment,” Hatmaker said.

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