By Amanda Ensinger
Prairie Township was awarded $1.5 million from the Ohio Capital Budget. The money will be used to create an innovative new field in the township to make playing sports more accessible to all.
“This is the largest award issued by the state,” said Rob Peters, township administrator at a recent board meeting.
According to Peters, the funds will be used for the One Field project. This project involves creating an artificial turf field that is designed specifically for individuals with special needs. The field will have a hard surface and artificial turf, allowing people in crutches or wheelchairs to use the field more easily. The field will be used for soccer, football, and other field sports.
The cost to build One Field is approximately $880,000, but it is also part of a larger project that costs approximately $2,1 million. This project includes the Galloway Road widening, turn lane and parking lot.
When COVID-19 struck in 2020, the One Field project was put on hold.
“The One Field fundraising campaign has been put on pause due to the pandemic,” Peters.
He noted that $728,000 had been raised and an additional $195,000 had been pledged by donors.
With this new funding, the project can now move forward.
According to Peters, organizers wanted to work on everything in the project at once, so they put the project on hold until they had enough funds for everything. They said when the pandemic occurred, it didn’t feel the like the appropriate time to continue to raise funds.
“We had enough for some of the project, but now we have enough for everything,” Peters said. “We would love to start this project this summer, but most likely construction will start in 2022.”
In other news, the board gave an update on other projects that have been on hold due to the pandemic. Among these projects is the I-270 Interchange project. The project would improve the landscaping around the West Broad Street and I-270 interchange.
Improvements to the area would include adding landscaping, LED lighting over the underpass and sculptures to the interchange. The project would cost between $30,000 to $60,000 a year and several businesses and organizations agreed to partner for the project.
“Unfortunately, a lot of partners on that project have changed,” Peters said. “The township still has this in its budget, but a lot of the funding was coming from other partners.”
Peters said they may still move forward with the project and scale it back depending on which partners plan to contribute.
“We need to look at who is maintaining the area and if we have permission to help with that,” Peters said. “Our fallback is to at least make some small improvements to the area and maintain it at a local level.”