Plain City seeks new source for park funding

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One Plain City official is asking that new development pay for park improvements in the village.
Plain City Councilman Nick Kennedy is asking the village to increase park impact fees in the village.
As it stands now, each new home in the village is assessed a $500 impact fee to go into a park fund.
“I think that is inadequate,” said Kennedy.
He said the parks have struggled to raise money and to maintain the parks. He said capacity fees is, “an area where we could raise money.”
He said he would like to see the increase be part of broader discussion on raising fees in the village. Kennedy said he didn’t know what the appropriate fee would be, other than, “something more in line with what other areas charge.”
Kennedy said the village has about $144,000 in the park and greenspace fund. He said the parks committee would like to use some of that to create a bicyclist station in the village.
Kennedy said he would like to have the cyclist area constructed on a piece of land that has been offered to the village. The approximately two acre triangular piece of land is at the intersection of West and Jefferson avenues, near the horse area at Der Dutchman Restaurant.
“We have a lot of cyclists,” Kennedy said.
He explained that as trails in central Ohio and around the state become connected, the village will see even more of them. Kennedy said the village could use some of the money to build a shelter, and add bicycle parking, a vending area and maps.
He said that while the land would be donated, it would be about $3,000 a year to maintain it.
Kennedy said that with the decision to limit options at Pastime Park, “we really need auxiliary parks to do something more.”
He said he would like guidance from council and the community on the future of parks.
“I would want some input from council what you would want, what you would like to see,” Kennedy said.
He added, “maybe we would get some input from the comprehensive plan to see if we want more parks.”
The village comprehensive plan is expected to be complete in September.
Kennedy said the parks committee had also hoped to improve the Youth Building in Pastime Park. Currently the park does not have permanent restrooms. A big portion of the Youth Building improvements would renovate the restrooms inside the building and create options so those restrooms could be accessed by anyone in the park without going into the Youth Building. He said the village budgeted $200,000 for the project but the estimates came in at $380,000.
Kennedy said a more cost effective option might be to renovate the park’s existing shelter house, adding men and women’s restrooms, along with a small cooking area.
Resident John Doig asked about the price for the Youth Building. He said members of the community have offered to put the roof on the building for free. Fiscal Officer Renee Sonnett explained that portions of a project can not be pulled out of the state mandated competitive process.
Kennedy said he would like to make it easier for businesses and community members to donate to the park. He said the committee has recommended the creation of a non-profit, friends of the park organization.
He said currently, donations to the park are not tax deductible. If the organization is able to get nonprofit status, “it would just be an added benefit for anyone wanting to donate.”
In other news:
– Mayor Darren Lane said allowing concealed weapons in the village offices would increase the village’s insurance rates.
“The last thing I want to do is cost the village money,” Lane said, stressing that he was dropping his request to have council allow him and members of the public carry concealed weapons inside village buildings.
– Council member Leslie Perkins asked council to consider legislation to address perpetual yard sales.
“At what point is it a yard sale or a garage sale and at what point does it become a home business?” Perkins asked.
She said she has not found any village legislation dealing with long-term, perpetual or repeated yard sales, though she knows other villages have them.
– Council will create a poll to gauge public response to spraying for mosquitos.
“I would like to hear what the village has to say,” said Perkins.
Kennedy, who asked the village to consider not spraying for mosquitos, said residents need educated on the potential ramifications of spraying as well as on other methods to reduce the population.
Village Administrator Kevin Vaughn said the next spraying is scheduled for Wednesday, before the Labor Day holiday.
“Typically, that is one we get a lot of calls for because people are going to be outside,” Vaughn said.
He said he would like to have an alternate plan in place before the village ceases spraying.
“If we cut this, I would like to have something in place,” Vaughn said.
He said after Wednesday, there could be one other mosquito spraying before the end of the season.
The Madison County Health Department will be invited to the next council meeting, Sept. 11, to address the spraying concerns and alternatives.



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