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Green Council approves $70,000 in special needs accommodations at children’s playground

Brian Lisik
Suburbanite correspondent

GREEN The city will be making $70,000 worth of improvements to the small children’s playground at Boettler Park, following City Council approval of a budget modification to fund projects in the streets, planning, and parks departments.

Service Director Valerie Wax Carr outlined the scope of the projects in the parks department, which represent the bulk of the budget modifications.

These included sun shades at the Central Park Amphitheater, which came in $65,882 under budget; a $34,075 replacement of doors at the Central Park Community Hall; $15,807 for furniture at the newly renovated Torok Community Center; and the improvements to a children’s playground at Boettler Park in order to make the area more accessible to children with special needs.

The playground project will also include fencing to match the nearby Lichtenwalter Schoolhouse.

Finance Director Steven Schmidt said that the projects will be funded through the city’s parks capital project reserve fund, which is currently “just under $400,000.”

City Councilman Rocco Yeargin noted that the playground improvements were in part an outgrowth of the volunteer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion community group, members of which provided recommendations for the improvements.

Park openings update

Green Communications Manager Valerie Wolford reported that the city, in coordination with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio and Summit County departments of health, has opened several park areas this month including, limited baseball field access at Greensburg, East Liberty and Kreighbaum parks. Tennis and Pickleball courts at Boettler and East Liberty parks, as well as the Ariss Dog Park, reopened May 29, Wolford said.

The splash pad and Yoga in the Park events at Central Park, however, will remain closed and canceled through June, due to the Governor’s continued limiting of gatherings to no more than 10 people. Wolford noted that an exception to the 10-person rule has been made for baseball and softball,

Fire department report

Fire Chief Jeffrey Funai reported that the planned opening of Fire Station 3 is slated for June 19. The construction project had originally been expected to open in May but was delayed due to COVID-19 related issues.

City Council also approved the extension of a May deadline for the city’s public presentation of an emergency services study, to Sept. 8.

The study is being funded through NEXUS Pipeline settlement funds and focuses on response time improvements in the southwest quadrant of the city. The study has been delayed due to COVID-19 related issues.

In other actions, council:

• Extended through Aug. 31 a March 22 resolution granting Mayor Gerard Neugebauer the “necessary flexibility to address the operational impact…created by the COVID-19 coronavirus.”

• Approved an additional contract with Burgess & Niple for professional engineering services for the Massillon Road North Improvement Project.

• Awarded a $511,558 contract to Spano Brothers Construction Company for the Moore Road sidewalk project, from Arlington Road to Charleston Drive.