COVENTRY TWP. Coventry Township officials are hopeful residents will support Issue 42 on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The 0.5-mill additional parks and recreation levy is expected to generate an estimated $110,000 per year. Money raised will help fund maintenance of the township’s five parks and allow for some infrastructure upgrades.
Issue 42 will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $17.50 per year, which will start being collected in 2019.
Recently, the township hasn’t had the funding to maintain the parks and has turned to youth sports teams to help with maintenance of the parks. Trustees have encouraged the support of Issue 42 to take some of the burden off the youth organizations.
Coventry Township Trustee Edward Diebold said when voters rejected a General Fund levy increase several years ago, the township couldn’t afford to continue to support the parks out of the General Fund. The trustees turned over the responsibility of mowing and maintaining the parks to the sports teams.
Trustee Tom Seese said the sports teams have overwhelmingly jumped in and helped. He said it is time to keep the promise the trustees made to them about a park’s levy. Seese is hopeful parents of the youth sports teams will support Issue 42.
Diebold said the five-year levy will allow for the township to mow and maintain the parks along with making upgrades gradually over the course of levy. Some of the upgrades, he said, would include replacing playground equipment, redoing some of the backstops for baseball, redoing the tennis courts and replacing the track at Lockwood Park.
Diebold is hopeful the upgrades to the parks can be made in five years. After that, he would like to see the levy trimmed back to 0.25 mills. Diebold said the 0.25 mills would help fund the mowing and upkeep of the parks.
The township has five parks: Cottage Grove Park, Lockwood Park, The Play Center, Ingleide Park and Logan Field.
Diebold said it is important for the township to maintain the parks it has.
"We aren’t looking to build multi-million dollar parks," Diebold said. "It is important we keep what we have for our youth sports programs."
Diebold said he has met with all the youth teams and said there aren’t enough ballfields. He said while Firestone Metro Park is close by, it offers a great place for hiking but the township needs its parks for the youth organizations.
Diebold hopes residents will support the issue and said the youth sports teams would also appreciate the support.
"The parks give them a place to play and get off their phones," Diebold said.
Trustee Richard Kutuchief is a strong believer in a strong parks system and wants the township to have a place for children to play.
"Where would our kids be without the parks," Kutuchief said.
He said the parks aren’t all about children though as they are a place for parents and grandparents to gather to watch children partake in sporting events.
"Our township is fortunate to have community members help support the parks," Kutuchief said.
He has a vision to construct a playground similar to what was recently built in Springfield Township. Other visions he has is bringing dances, music and movies to the park along with constructing a walking path along Potage Lakes Drive near the dam project.
By developing the parks, Kutuchief said, it gives young families a reason to want to come to Coventry Township. He also said having a strong parks system allows for people to stay in Coventry to visit a park rather than going to a neighboring community.
"The parks are a place to exercise, socialize and to build strong community support," Kutuchief said. "It is a win win all the way around for a small price."