Area park could be ‘destination spot’ with challenge course based on NFL, Ninja Warrior

Miami Twp. considering idea based on park in Charlotte, N.C.

Miami Twp. could transform a local park into a “destination location” by adding a 21st-century challenge course.

Trustee President John Morris said the park could be modeled after what the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and GameTime created at Charlotte, North Carolina’s Reedy Creek Park, which includes equipment billed as a combination of NFL Draft Combine and popular “Ninja Warrior” races.

The Charlotte park features a 40-yard dash that sees participants step on a pad to reset a timing clock before running the dash and obtaining their time.

Other elements include outdoor weight training and fitness equipment, plus a timed-challenge course involving multiple obstacles.

Adding something like that, which Morris said resembles an “adult jungle gym,” would allow Miami Twp. to host “battle of the businesses”-style competitions, charitable events and school trips, plus offer area residents a way to play, get in shape and stay in shape.

A mobile app would give park-goers the ability to compete against themselves, friends, the community and even other cities and schools, he said.

“It’s a 21st-century take on a park and there’s nothing in Ohio anything like this,” Morris said.

He said he stopped by the Charlotte park in 2016 while visiting the city with his family, including his then 16-year-old and 11-year-old sons.

“What we experienced in Charlotte was like no other park we had been to anywhere,” he said. “These two boys were there for three hours and didn’t want to leave and I said to myself ’Why don’t we have something like this in our community in the Greater Dayton area, in Montgomery County?’ but we didn’t.”

The opportunity now before Miami Twp. is that the company that installs such features at parks is facing cancellations on pre-ordered equipment nationwide, Morris said. That means “some significant discounts” under the name of a grant for communities that have the funds to purchase them, he said.

“I think we have a unique opportunity to get into at a lower cost than we could in future years,” he said. “I think it’s an opportunity to create a destination location that people from all over will come to, not just our residents.”

Morris said an optimal place to add such amenities would be Miami View Park, a 34-acre space at 911 Munger Road.

“What we have there is a barren wasteland,” he said. “It’s a beautiful piece of land, it’s wide open land but unfortunately ... it was devastated by the (emerald) ash borer.”

In addition, the township removed the park’s worn-down basketball and tennis courts four years ago.

Any renovation of the Miami Twp. park would include the replacement of playground sets and swings that are more than 20 years old, he said.

Upgrading the park to resemble the Charlotte park would cost between $300,000 to $500,000, but grant money for the project would lessen that by between $100,000 and $150,000, Morris said.

Township Trustee Donald Culp said the idea for the park was “exciting” but that he wants to see a plan that has matching funds associated with the funding, “a 50-50 maybe or something like that.”

Just as the Carolina Panthers emblazoned its logo on signage across the Charlotte park, sponsorship by a Southwest Ohio corporation of the Miami View revamp would help subsidize costs and allow for branding there, Morris said.

Trustees likely will vote on a measure in the coming weeks that would request the township’s administrator to work with the Miami Twp. Community Improvement Corporation and the Community Foundation of Miami Township to help fund park upgrades up to $500,000 in 2021, Morris said.

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