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Vets Park project plans explained at RBA meeting
By Beth Church
Veterans Memorial Park has been the site of much history in Rossford, and now city officials have big plans for its future.
Toby Ledesma, parks and recreation director for the City of Rossford, was the guest speaker for the Rossford Business Association monthly luncheon meeting, explaining an upcoming renovation project at the park.
“There’s lots of history there,” he said. “And there are a lot of community events that take place in Vets Park.”
With the marina, tennis and basketball courts, ballfields, playgrounds and shelterhouse, he is proud of the park along the Maumee River.
In recent years, the park has seen some upgrades in playground equipment.
A “volcano climbing wall” was added in 2013, at a cost of $8,900 with $7,300 of grant funding.
Last year, a “discovery cave” was added to the playground, which cost $6,300 and funded by a $4,500 grant.
“Veterans Park is something we’ve been working on,” he added.
The tennis and basketball courts are the focus of the next round of renovations.
Mr. Ledesma has received approval by city council to have a new multi-purpose sports court surface installed by Connor Sports.
The hard plastic 1x1 foot interlocking squares create a surface where tennis, basketball or volleyball can be played.
His staff can remove and replace the squares, reconfiguring it as needed.
The space will allow for two full size basketball courts, one volleyball court and one tennis court, he explained.
“We hope it will bring a lot of events down there and add to the recreational opportunities,” Mr. Ledesma said.
Basketball hoops, volleyball poles and tennis nets will be added, as well.
The weather resistant material comes with a 15-year warranty, he noted.
“It will definitely hold up,” the recreation director said.
Mr. Ledesma expects the new court surface to be ready for play by spring 2017.
The cost will be $95,000, and the city is saving about $20,000 off the retail cost as a member of the National Joint Power Alliance, a cooperative purchasing agency.
A Ohio Department of Natural Resources Nature Works grant of $47,632 has been awarded for the project, he said, plus a Wood County Park District grant of $4,804.
RBA President Justin Knierim said the organization will donate $7,500 toward the park project.
“We’re going to step up and be a significant sponsor,” he said.
He is pleased to see the business organization and city cooperating on the park renovation.
“This is two community partners coming together–I feel really good about this,” Mr. Knierim added.
Noting the park’s popularity, the RBA president said his three young children always ask him “where’s the playground?” whenever they visit a new community.
“And Vets Park is such a neat park with the marina down there.”
City Administrator Mike Scott pointed out Ivan Kovacevic, the previous parks and recreation director, made a number of improvements in the parks and programming.
“And then we brought in Toby, and he has exceeded all expectations,” Mr. Scott said. “This is just one of many projects up and coming.”
Mr. Ledesma agreed that the sports court project is phase one, and phase two of the Veterans Park renovation “is in the thought process.”
“With the landscape, the river background, we have baseball teams come to play there just because of the river,” he said. “We’re not planning on stopping here.”
Toby Ledesma, Rossford parks and recreation director, left, was the guest speaker for the RBA’s monthly luncheon meeting. With him, from left, are RBA President Justin Knierim and RBA Vice President Rick Reichow.
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Rossford lies at the heart of the Crossroads of America, an area experiencing tremendous economic growth, located at the crossroads of Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike. The city's population of approximately 6,000 is primarily a mix of descendants of Polish, Czechoslovakian, German and Ukrainian workers who came from Pennsylvania to work at the glass plant, now Pilkington.
Rossford was incorporated as a village in 1939 and as a city in 1971. The City is a municipal corporation which operates under its own charter and is governed by a mayor and seven-member City Council. Rossford is served by full-time police and part-time fire departments, dispatched from the neighboring Village of Walbridge.
The City maintains a Community Recreation Center and three parks, one of which,Veterans Memorial Park, features a seasonal marina along with picnic areas and diamonds and courts for baseball, tennis, basketball and volleyball.
Rossford has three elementary schools, Glenwood, Indian Hills and Eagle Point, a junior high and high school and All Saints parochial school for grades pre-kindergarten through eight.
The city boasts a public library and many service and community organizations such as the Rossford Business Association, Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Its Rossford Community Service League sponsors annual activities such as a Valentine's Day Dance, Easter egg hunt, Halloween, Memorial Day parades and their Christmas tree lighting.
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