Bainbridge Trustees want to hear from residents on their wishes concerning the need for park playground equipment in the township. Trustees met Monday with members of the Bainbridge Park Committee.

There is no equipment left at Settlers Park and the playground equipment at River Road Park is in such poor condition, they had to close it. No other parks in the township have playgrounds.

Trustees said Monday that residents who want to voice their concerns should contact them by going to the Bainbridge website at bainbridgetwp.com/contact-us or by calling the Bainbridge Town Hall at 440-543-9871 to request an email or phone number of the trustees.

The equipment in River Road Park is ready to fall over, and a sign is up to prohibit use, according to Bainbridge Service Director Jim Stanek. Some of the wood poles are rotted out. Trustees are looking into conditions of the playground equipment warranty from the time of its purchase 15 years ago.

He also noted during the discussion that walking trails are the popular attraction now in the parks. They are well used at River Road Park. “We see people walking in the day and evenings. It’s a sign of the times,” he said.

Trustee Kristina O’Brien said River Road Park is very active with visitors yet the playground equipment is no longer functional. She noted that the township’s general fund, which pays for the parks, is limited. There is a need to get the public involved with fundraising, she said.

Trustee Lorrie Benza noted that the dog park built at Centerville Mills Park has been a huge success with residents asking about the reopening date when it was closed for repairs.

The use of River Road Park is different, and the question is if people still want a playground there, trustees said.

The Ohio Revised Code had a recent change that allows the township to sell sponsorship banners to websites, Mrs. Benza noted. “I don’t know if it transfers to other township holdings, like playground equipment. If there is an identified need for new playground equipment, then we could explore whether we have that option of sponsorship banners.”

Bainbridge Service Director Jim Stanek said the township hasn’t heard anything about a need. “I’m not sure we would do the same as 20 years ago.” Letting kids have a say might be the way to go, he said.

“Is there that need?” Mr. Stanek asked, and he questioned if Bainbridge residents are using it or is it people from outside the community. “We haven’t heard a whole lot from residents.”

Park committee member Toby Schulman said she lives in a lake community and has asked neighbors if they go there and they said no. They have a playground, volley ball court and baseball diamond in their community and don’t go to River Road to use the playground, she said.

She said she believes the park and playground are used more by the adjacent Canyon Lake community residents as well as by those who go to the park for sports games. “People don’t make special trips. Some don’t live in the area,” she said of park users.

Mrs. O’Brien suggested a forum with the park committee to discuss the issues.

Trustee Jeff Markley noted a zip line is popular in the city of Independence. “It’s different,” he said.

At the time the township got its playground equipment, Auburn Township did not have a playground and now it does at the Auburn Community Park, Mrs. Benza said. She noted two of the Kenston schools, Timmons and Kenston Intermediate, have some playground equipment.

Resident Henri Preuss noted that originally Settlers Park, located off Haskins Road behind the township service department, had a big playground because it was the only park in the township. The playground was built by volunteers and he was one of them.

Now, the only time there are kids at that park is when there are ball games, he noted. He suggested the township apply for grants for playground equipment.

Trustees discussed possible grant sources, such as from Nature Works, as well as donations. Mr. Markley also noted that South Russell just had a playground installed and it received a large donation from a resident.

Playground equipment at River Road Park would be well over $200,000, he said. “This stuff isn’t cheap.”

He noted that the Settlers Park equipment has been down for at least four years. “Kids don’t go out to play anymore,” Mr. Markley said. “That’s one aspect.” When River Road Park was developed, it was to accommodate younger children whose siblings were playing on sports teams in the park.

Today, not hearing any complaints about the River Road Park is probably a condition of the times, Mr. Markley said.

As to the equipment at River Road, it is not something the township would hire someone to work on, because of liabilities involved, Mr. Stanek said.

Mrs. Benza questioned, “Do we have a need? That’s the first step. If times have changed that they aren’t using playground equipment in the same way, do we still need it? Do we need to spend $200,000? We need to hear from our constituents.”

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