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Future Upgrades & Opportunities

Welcome to our Future Upgrade Opportunities section! Here, we outline the exciting initiatives and improvements planned for several parks in our community: Alumni Park, Old Schoolhouse Park, and Michael Merrill Park. We're dedicated to enhancing the park experience for all visitors and ensuring that our green spaces remain cherished assets for the community. 

Are you passionate about improving our parks? We're always looking for community involvement and support!

Here's how you can get involved:

  1. Volunteer: Join us for park cleanup and beautification efforts across Alumni Park, Old Schoolhouse Park, and Michael Merrill Park. Additionally, volunteer to assist with Parks and Recreation events and programs. Your hands-on involvement can make a real difference in keeping our parks clean and welcoming, and in ensuring the success of community events.

  2. Share Your Ideas: Attend public meetings or reach out to your local public officials to share your ideas and feedback on park upgrades and initiatives. Your input is valuable in shaping the future of our parks.

  3. Letters of Support: If you believe in our vision for the parks, consider writing a letter of support. Your words can help us garner additional community support and funding for our projects.
     

Together, we can create parks that serve as vibrant hubs for community engagement, recreation, and relaxation.
 

For more information or to get involved, please contact the Village Office at 419-669-3224 or clerk@westonohio.org

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Alumni Park Walking Path ("Keeler's Trail")

A message from the Mayor...

Wow, oh wow! We've gotten a lot of feedback about the multi-use walking path project over the past couple of weeks. Let me first say that I am sorry that we did not do a better job at communicating with the public about the progress. There has been a great amount of work put into a 'master plan' for Alumni Park by many individuals over the years, so on the one hand, it's exciting for me to see another part of this project move forward, but on the other hand, it's frustrating seeing some of the misinformation that is surrounding the project, and some of the ugly criticism that comes along with the discussion that follows. I also want to acknowledge that there are also many constructive criticisms, or at least criticisms that can be taken in by your village officials in a constructive way, and they are heard loud and clear. I ask that you continue to work with us to make sure we get your ideas on our agenda since.

 

Let's start with Alumni Park. More than 10 years ago, the village received a piece of land that was once home to our high school, and eventually our elementary school sometime after. Once it was torn down, figuring out what to do with this area has always been an overwhelming task. It's a large area that needs a lot of work put into it in order to make it something that everyone in town has a reason to use, and on top of that, we have had lots of ideas that have been proposed and researched, and even attempted to move forward with through grant funding.

 

In late 2020, Parks & Rec voted to use their remaining budget on Disc Golf baskets, and we put together a committee of volunteers to plan out a disc golf course in the Alumni Park area—one step in improving the area with activities that suit a multi-use area. Disc Golf very much fits that dynamic. It is often seen in similar situations, played through trees, paths, and other common areas, and the disc golf community is very respectful of this harmony. The small committee that laid out the holes and test played it really made great use of the land to make a challenging course that had lots of room to adapt to new obstructions once trees and other areas were build up. It's also something that could potentially draw others into our town, which is constantly a topic in discussions like these. We want to create reasons for people to come to Weston and use our shops, restaurants, and gas station.

 

In 2022, the Village received $173,213.75 from an ARPA grant. This is money that was given to the village from federal dollars. At the time, it had a very stringent set of uses, and while it was exciting to know that the Village was getting this unexpected revenue, it was also frustrating that there wasn't yet any clear indication of what it could be used on. This would be a recurring theme throughout the lifecycle of the ARPA Fund, but I think Council made a sound decision to use $152,000 of the money to match another grant funded by state tax dollars through the Ohio Public Works Commission, or OPWC. With these funds pooled, Weston was able to replace the culvert/bridge on Taylor Street where it meets Route 235. Weston worked with Kleinfelder, and Vernon Nagel on that project. Since the project total was over 300k, using ARPA and OPWC grant funds was a win for our community, as that bridge was over 100 years old, and very expensive to replace otherwise. As a matter of reference, our typical yearly budget for roads is between 70k and 100k, and our annual budget for safety (including the EMS and Sheriff) is now over 90k. This years' budgets include—Roads (135k), Safety (93k), Parks & Rec (+ Park Repairs) 10k, Stormwater (20k), Trees (10k), and new this year, Sidewalks (10k), Grant Writers (10k), and a slush fund for other project opportunities for capital improvement projects (35k).
(I've included a graphic that shows some of this information)

 

With the bridge project done, council had the opportunity to pitch other projects to their committees, and that is exactly the process that our Community Development committee took with the walking path, a project that we had already concepted earlier and attempted to fully fund with an ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) NatureWorks grant. The total estimated cost for the paved walking path was around $35,000. The committee reworked the plan to establish the path at a reduced cost of $22,000, removing the paved part of the project, allowing it to fit within the leftover ARPA funds available. While our initial ODNR grant request was rejected, some of the feedback we received was that investing in a 'Phase 1' to generate some community feedback would be extremely helpful to fund further improvements to the area. And since this walking path is just one part of a much larger vision for our town, it makes sense to invest these funds in order to be better eligible for future grant opportunities. We try very hard to use these opportunities to make the best use of your tax dollars. We're looking at a natural prairie area (to recognize our humble beginnings at Keeler's Prairie), a makeover on the basketball courts, and the addition of a couple pickleball courts, among other things.

 

22k is indeed a boatload of money and it can FOR SURE be used to do many great things. I think this is a great thing. What I think is awesome is that we were able to use the ARPA money in different ways—in infrastructure, and health and wellness. It is very frustrating to see people 'vote no' on a waking path project because they think a different project is a better idea, because the fact is this village has the ability to do many great things, given the process. Over the past couple weeks specifically, I've heard many great ideas, and I want to encourage you to get passionate about your idea. Working with the council, board, or committee, even if it's initiated through a single member, is the way to move forward. We have a process that works, and hard working individuals that want, more than anything, to see progress in town. Together, we can do all of these things without tearing down other's ideas, and hard work. Community is about the whole working together.

 

With all that said, I'm constantly working to figure out how we can best serve our residents, and it's clear given the current climate that we need to put more work into communicating the progress in our town. We have a ton of momentum, and while it's true that the 'government' churns slowly, Weston is churning. The momentum takes time to realize, but I see so much participation in town that it's genuinely exciting to be a part of it. I am disappointed that we have not been able to communicate that more effectively. We will do better putting you into the loop, and it's a top priority of myself, council, and your Village staff. We will also have more information about the walking path, and future projects, to you soon, but I've included some additional attachments that we've used to illustrate the project.

 

Stay interested, Weston. Thank you for using your voice.

Image by Oleksii S

Basketball Court Resurfacing & Redesign

Applying to ODNR's NatureWorks grant

**Attention Community Members! Exciting News About the Current Basketball Court!** 

 

Are you passionate about enhancing our local recreational facilities? Do you envision a space where people of all ages can come together to enjoy outdoor activities? Then you’ll be thrilled to hear about the opportunity to revamp our beloved basketball court at Alumni Park!

 

We are delighted to announce that we are applying for a NatureWorks grant to transform our current basketball court into a versatile, multi-functional space that caters to a variety of interests and preferences. Here's what we have in store:

 

**Resurfacing and Redesign:**

  • The current basketball court will undergo a thorough resurfacing process to ensure a smooth and safe playing surface.

  • Following the resurfacing, the court will be redesigned to optimize space usage, transitioning from two full courts to one full court, one half court, and two dedicated pickleball courts.

  • This redesign will involve updating court markings to accommodate the new layout, including lines for basketball and pickleball courts.

  • Alongside the resurfacing, we will install new net systems specifically designed for pickleball, ensuring optimal gameplay for enthusiasts of this growing sport.

  • Additionally, brand-new basketball hoops meeting regulation standards will be installed, enhancing the overall playing experience and safety of the court.

**How You Can Help:**

  • Your involvement and input are vital to the success of this project.  The NatureWorks grant application process recommends community participation, and your voice matters.

  • We encourage you to attend the upcoming council meetings and provide feedback on this project.  Your insights will help shape the final plans for the basketball court renovation.

  • To participate in the grant application, the Village must pass a resolution indicating our intent to apply for funding.  This resolution is expected to undergo a second reading on April 1st and a third and final reading on April 15th, providing ample time for community input and discussion.

  • Additionally, we’re seeking letters of support from community members, organizations, and stakeholders to include with the grant application.  These letters will demonstrate the widespread community backing for the project and strengthen our application.  Your letter could make a significant difference in securing funding for the renovation.  Letters can be sent to clerk@westonohio.org, dropped off at the Village Hall during office hours or after hours drop box (13234 Main Street, Weston), or mailed to P.O. Box 354, Weston, OH 43569.

 

** Project Cost: **

  • Resurfacing (Rutter & Dudley Asphalt Maintenance) $18,320

  • Line Painting (SportsScape) $2,700

  • Basketball System (SportsScape) $5,400

  • Net System (SportsScape) $1,300

  • Embeds for 3 hoops & 2 pickleball systems (SportsScape) $2,000

  • Freight/Delivery $798

TOTAL: $30,518

 

**About NatureWorks Grant:**

The NatureWorks grant program, administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), provides funding assistance to local communities for the acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of outdoor recreational areas.  This grant presents an invaluable opportunity for us to enhance our recreational facilities at Alumni Park.  However, it’s important to note that this grant requires a 25% match.  Additionally, each county is allocated a specific amount of funding, which is determined by ODNR and yet to be finalized.  By securing this grant and meeting the matching requirements, we can realize our vision for transforming the basketball court into a dynamic, multi-functional space that promotes health, wellness, and community engagement.

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