Prairie Twp. moving forward with sports complex


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

Prairie Township residents are one step closer to having a sports complex of their own.
Despite not receiving the Clean Ohio Trail Grant, the township is still moving forward with the 111-acre complex.

The grant would have given the township up to $500,000 to use toward creating a trail that would have spanned from the community center to the Broad Street streetscape to the Camp Chase Trail. The first phase of the trail would have connected the Camp Chase Trail to the new Galloway Road Sports Complex to Alton Hall Elementary School. If the township would have received the grant, it would have been responsible for 20 percent of the funding.

“In total, the trail would have been two miles and the first section would have been less than a mile,” said James Gant, director of the Prairie Township Community Center. “We have not given up on the trail and are going to reapply for the grant in 2016 and we should find out if we receive it in the fall.”

With the trail temporarily on hold, the township is moving forward with the sports complex.
With a budget of $250,000, Gant said right now the township is waiting for the permits to come in and the drawings to be complete.

“The first phase of the sports complex will be underground work, including sewer and water lines,” Gant said. “While this is all contingent on costs, we also want to build a parking lot, most of the sports field and a storage area.”

When complete, the complex is anticipated to have six baseball diamonds, seven or eight soccer fields, a walking trail, a fishing pond, a storage area, parking lot and possibly a dog park.

However, a lot of this work will be done in phases due to budget constraints.

“We are seeking outside funding to leverage more township funding,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “The board may approve additional funds for this project if that outside funding happens.”

Officials originally estimated that phase one of the project would be complete by 2017, however now Gant said it probably won’t be complete until 2018 or later.

“It is going to take a couple of years because we have to give the grass plenty of time to grow and be established,” he said. “If we let people play on the fields before the grass is ready, it will turn into a muddy mess.”

Township officials said this complex is just one of many projects the township has completed or is working on to generate economic growth in the township and entice people to stay or move to the area.

“If we don’t offer these services here, people will eventually move elsewhere because they want these services in their community,” Gant said. “We have seen a reinvestment in the schools here, we have the new community center and now we will have this sports complex. We are on the right track to enhancing this area.”

Gant said after the sports complex, the next big project the township is looking into is building an outdoor community pool that would be located close to the community center.

However, he stresses this is way down the road and the township is trying to tackle one project at a time.

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