By Amanda Ensinger
James Gant, the Prairie Township Community Center director updated the trustees about a special needs sports field at a recent board meeting.
To date, the township has raised $728,000 for an artificial turf field that would be designed specifically for individuals with special needs.
“The field will have a hard surface and will be an artificial turf,” Gant said. “This will allow people in crutches or wheelchairs to more easily use the field and won’t be as restricting for them as a natural field would be.”
The field would be used for soccer, football and other field sports.
The money raised for the field comes through the Prairie Township Community Fund, a group that is funded under the umbrella of the Columbus Foundation. This allows community stakeholders to raise funds for projects within the township.
The mission of the organization is to enhance the quality of life in the greater Prairie Township area by enriching traditions and supporting innovation through leadership and giving.
The Columbus Foundation is a philanthropic adviser to 2,500 individuals, families and businesses who have created charitable funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through philanthropy.
The township needs to raise approximately $2 million for the field and plans to have that raised by April 2020. The hope is to start the project next year and the township plans to have the field at the new Galloway Road Sports Complex.
Money for the project will continue to be raised by corporate and private donations, as well as other creative tactics by the Prairie Township Community Fund.
Once this project is complete, the Prairie Township Community Fund plans on looking at other major projects they can raise funds to support in the township. Among the projects that could be completed in the future includes an expansion of the pool at the Prairie Township Community Center.
In related news, Gant gave an update on membership and activity at the community center.
Gant said the center currently has 6,869 members and 2,079 of those members are residents. Of that, 4,397 of those members are non-residents and 3,986 are senior citizens.
Gant said, “On average a community center has 10 percent of its members from their community, we have 14 percent which is wonderful.”
Gant also said the center has a 96.55 percent retention rate of members when the industry average to retain members is 60 percent.
If you are interested in learning more about membership at the community center, donating to the Prairie Township Community Fund or learning more about the new artificial turf field, visit www.prairietownship.org.