Large donation will allow Greene County park to build two accessible ball fields

Owen's Place Park in Beavercreek. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Owen's Place Park in Beavercreek. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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A Greene County couple’s estate is making a dream of an accessible ball field for children come to life for a nonprofit,.

The Louise Kendig and Wilfred Denton Jones Family Endowment at the Greene County Community Foundation will give a $275,000 grant to Owen’s Place to construct accessible ball fields.

Owen’s Place Park, located in the park formerly known as Victory Park, and the nonprofit organization that runs the park, Owen’s Place, had been hoping to add this one final feature for over a year. The group had been asking local municipalities for financial help before this grant became available.

Gussie Jones, who retired from the Greene County Developmental Disabilities Services in 2015 and has been with the project since its beginning, said the park’s baseball and kickball leagues have become quite popular and thinks making fields more accessible would only grow the following. The fields and adding a new parking lot will cost about $475,000, Jones said.

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The grant will go toward building two ball fields to be named after the Joneses. Construction on the “Louise and Wilfred Jones Sports Fields” will start as soon as the weather permits.

Gussie Jones said the group hopes construction will be completed by the end of summer. Jones said the fields “will serve as a permanent memorial to two Greene Countians who chose to make a difference.”

Owen’s Place is owned by the Beavercreek Twp. Park District and funded by a Greene County Parks and Trails. Jones said over the past five years Greene County Parks and Trails has given $500,000 to the park. Owen’s Place currently rents fields from Rotary Park Jones said for the baseball and kickball leagues. But those games are canceled for bad weather. These new fields will have turf and would still be able to be played on after it rains, even with a mobility device.

Owen's Place Park in Beavercreek. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Owen's Place Park in Beavercreek. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Throughout their lives, Louise and Wilfred Jones were active around the area and shared a passion for supporting Greene County as a wonderful place to live and work which was evidenced by their volunteer work with many local and county organizations, the Greene County Community Foundation said. The Greene County Community Foundation has been managing more than 200 accounts, including the Louise Kendig and Wilfred Denton Jones Family Endowment, since 2001. The foundation’s mission is to make Greene County a better place to live.

Louise Jones worked at Xenia City Schools and for the Greene County Regional Planning and Coordinating Commission. A few years ago, Louise Jones gave $100,000.00 to Owen’s Place to help build an accessible treehouse at Owen’s Place.

Wilfred Jones served as a pilot in the U. S. Army before working at the Jones Home Market, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and AAA Miami Valley.

Together, Louise and Wilfred Jones remained active in local charitable organizations. This grant will continue that tradition and ensure accessible ball will be available to many, the Greene County Community Foundation said.

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The first phase of Owen’s Place park opened in 2013, but Gussie Jones, with Owen’s Place, said the park had been an idea since 2006. Owen’s Place features a sensory garden, an accessible treehouse and a hillside slide, among other things.

The playground equipment has large print, Braille and large print so that anyone can use it.

The tree house, which Louise Jones helped build with her previous donation, has a ramp the goes up two stories. There is a spot for watching birds and a spot where people in wheelchairs can look down at the rest of the park.

Owen’s Place was started by Trish Gustafson. Her son, Owen, is who the park is named for. Owen has congenital muscular dystrophy and was 3-years-old when the park was first an idea.

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