TOWNSHIP TWP. – During their visit to Faircrest Park one recent afternoon, Josh Rininger and Joey King both said a word when they learned that the proposed new accommodation lodge structure would be equipped with washrooms – “Cool!”

The two New Philadelphia residents came to the park to play disc golf.

Having a lodge with washrooms is a major goal of township officials who are about to embark on a park improvement project in the 1000 block of Faircrest Street SW. The entire park upgrade is estimated to be over $ 708,000.

In addition to a new 1,521 square foot pavilion, township officials hope to build a 900 square foot amphitheater and a circular veterans memorial 60 feet in diameter. Having a restroom should make a difference for park visitors who now have to use portable toilets.

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“I think it’s a good idea,” King said. “It’s already a beautiful park. It will probably attract more people. There are usually a lot of people here.”

To help pay for the new lodge, township administrators will use a $ 250,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Community Parks, Recreation and Conservation program. The project will include the removal of one of the existing pavilions.

Township trustees recently approved a bid of $ 279,345 from CCI Construction Commerciale for the construction of the pavilion which will be equipped with toilets.

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There are two existing pavilions. Plans include converting the smaller one into a storage building.

The larger pavilion “is in very poor condition,” said township administrator Mark Shaffer. “There is no toilet. What we’ve heard from residents who use this shelter is that they really want running water. And second, they want a toilet. The third demand is service. The fourth demand is to be able to have a sufficiently large size. “

Even with the state grant, township officials will have to find more money to pay for what will likely be the first part of the park’s modernization project, the construction of a new pavilion.

“With the offers received, the (grant) is a bit short,” said architect William Griffith of SOL Harris Day, who designed the project. “That doesn’t cover the cost. They’ll have to find about $ 30,000 more.”

It is not yet certain that Canton Township will be able to build the other desired components which are considered as alternatives.

“Ultimately, the plan is to have the same contractor for all the work,” Shaffer said. “It depends on what else we can afford. We would not share the work with another contractor. The goal is to do some of the work now so that the park is usable in the spring. The priority is to get this pavilion fitted out with toilets and running water. ”

Township trustees are awaiting legal advice on how to proceed with the awarding of contracts for the construction of other elements.

The new amphitheater, which would have a roof, is planned to the west of the pavilion.

It will be used for “obviously all community events,” Shaffer said. “The other thing we would use it for would be working with schools. We might want to organize shows there. “

The proposed Veterans Memorial is to be constructed on the west side of the entrance to the 10.62-acre park.

“We are planning to do some fundraising,” said township administrator Christopher Nichols. “I think we could get most of the Veterans Memorial (cost) through donations.”

An American flag on a pole currently stands at the proposed site for the Veterans Memorial. It is to be joined by flags representing the various branches of the US military.

“It’s just paving,” Griffith said. “There are no structures other than flags. There will be nine flags.”

The park’s proximity to Faircrest Memorial Middle School played a role in township officials’ decision to have a veterans memorial, Shaffer said. The school is located at 616 Faircrest St. SW.

The Veterans Memorial “is a tiered seating configuration,” Shaffer said. “Lots of excavation involved with that.”

Township administrators also had hopes of renovating the Canton Township Community Center at 210 38th St. SE. This township-owned structure was the Amos McDannel Primary School in the past.

“We have submitted two (grant) applications,” Nichols said. “One for the community center and one for the park. The state only gave the grant for the park.”

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