Circleville – On October 30th the City of Cirlceville tore down a section of Ted Lewis Park for renovations. This sent the citizens of Circleville into a online frenzy of complaints about the plans for the new Ted Lewis Park.
In October the city demoed the skate park that was built by locals in the area for something for the kids to do. Online complains were mostly aimed at how nice the park was years ago and, “it was popping and full of energy,” said Local Corrina Coatney. She said she remembers the early 2000’s when they had summer festivals, things were paved, fields were nice, playground was nice, people used to fish back in the creek, the city pool was open.”
Ted Lewis Park renovations have been stalled with lack of funds in the city, a few years ago the city passed a parks and road levy but most of that levy goes to roads. According to a former service director the roads in Circleville are about 20 years behind and at one point no monies were going into the upkeep of roads at all.
Another reason Ted Lewis has been stalled is because of the Barthelmas Park buy city council decided to purchase a 22 acre piece of property adjacent to the the park for 300,000 dollars. The city used funds from all the Pickaway Park and Trail Grants for the next 5 years (45,000 per year),and the remaining cost will come possibly from the Capital Improvement Fund.
In March, a new organization has formed, The friends of Ted Lewis, they say it is important to get the Ted Lewis project done so kids in Circleville have something to do and they are willing to work to fund it. The groups plan is to complete the park within three years.
Larry Logan Chairman of the Ted Lewis Park Project Committee said, “its been four years since the master plan was established, due to a lack of government funds not much has been able to be done. Its understandable all cites are under pressure from a funding standpoint.” One hundred thousand dollars has been earmarked for local parks and roads through a levy voters passed at the last election, and the mayor has also added 10,000 dollars to that pot for parks. The current 2015 master plan costs around 1.2 million to complete the renovations to Ted Lewis Park completely. Logan said this would probably take 20 years for the City to accomplish.”
The 2015 master plan of Ted Lewis Renovations include:
- Splash pad much like the Mary Virginia Park
- Playground equipment like Mary Virginia Park
- Amphitheater for smaller venues this will be the third one in town if completed within 2 miles.
- 2 Basketball courts (enclosed in fence)
- Skate Park (Enclosed in fence)
- Shelter house
- Public Restrooms
- Walking paths
- Plantings around the park
- The Veterans Memorial is already in place but would be included in the area even though its not part of the renovations.“We are a bunch of volunteers that plan on seeking donations from the private sectors, Banks, Businesses, National Corporations and Applying for grants. Unfortunately we are a city that is designated as a lower income, the positive that comes out of that is we have grants that can be available to us that other cities that are not in that particular case do not.” The organization plans on developing a market piece outlining the plan and costs than having face to face interviews with potential donators. Ted Lewis Park Project Committee believe this is key to the success in the fundraising. They will set up donations into a 5013C through PCCF (Pickaway County Community Foundation), so the donations will be deductible, this is a similar set up of the Mary Virginia Park donation fund that is set up, according to the organization.The organization did have some requests they asked the Council to approve of, some additions that were initially removed from the original plan to be reinstated. At least two basketball courts and a pad for a skateboard park that will be donated by Crossroad Church that has a skate park on the back of a flatbed truck. “We understand that there was an outreach to the community when this was first introduced and basketball was considered too noisy for the neighbors of the park, but we believe we have a solution for this issue by placing the basketball and skate park at the end of the park. We believe there are more trees in this area and it will work as a sound buffer for this situation. I travel everywhere, and one of the things I see in inner city parks most often are basketball courts, kids like to play basketball, and we think that’s an important change,” said Logan.
Now the City of Circleville Park Commission wants to hold a meeting to hear feedback on the Ted Lewis Skateboard Park Monday, November 11th at 6 pm in Circleville Council Chambers. They ask that anyone who wants to give feedback to be there.
Here is the link to one of the online posts that has gone locally viral: