Middletown’s largest park could be getting new playground equipment

This is one of four possible playground configurations for new equipment at Smith Park in Middletown. City officials are applying for a $63,750 NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to fund about 75 percent of the costs to replace the old playground equipment. CONTRIBUTED

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This is one of four possible playground configurations for new equipment at Smith Park in Middletown. City officials are applying for a $63,750 NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to fund about 75 percent of the costs to replace the old playground equipment. CONTRIBUTED

New playground equipment is being planned for Smith Park, and city officials are applying for state assistance for the project.

Middletown plans to apply for a NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to help fund part of the $85,000 project.

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The city is seeking $63,750 through the NatureWorks grant program to partially pay for the replacement of aging playground equipment.

“The equipment is more than 20 years old and has come to the end of its useful life,” City Manager Doug Adkins said.

The grant would cover about 75 percent of the total costs, with the city putting $11,250 from the capital improvements fund as well as several local foundation donations to cover the remaining balance.

The city has received verbal commitments from the Middletown Community Foundation, the Miriam Knoll Foundation, the Barnitz Fund, Middletown Youth Soccer and Light Up Middletown for donations to the project, according to Scott Tadych, public works and utilities director.

Tadych said Smith Park is the city’s largest and most used park. He said the state requires an ordinance authorizing the submittal of an application seeking a NatureWorks grant.

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Vice Mayor Talbott Moon asked if any of the current equipment could be refurbished with Adkins saying that might be possible but would need to be checked.

Councilwoman Ami Vittori asked if any community meetings were held to get feedback from residents. Adkins and Councilman Steve Bohannon said the four concepts for new equipment had been reviewed by the city Park Board before it was submitted for council’s review.

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