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Deerfield Township Trustee Ed Dean stood on five acres of open property adjacent to town hall last week where he said the township would build a state-of-the art playground and pavilion for the community pending approval of a park levy this May -- the first ever park levy in the township.
The estimated $64,000 fenced-in playground would feature a large commercial playset, swings with baby seats, a zip line and additional features for children that exceed ADA playground standards. Playground experts David Williams & Associates of Alliance, which designed Atwater's playground, completed the blueprints for the park at no charge upon the request of trustees earlier this year.
The park would also include an $80,000 pavilion with a kitchen and secured storage area, a new septic and water system for kitchen and bathroom use and paved parking lots and driveway for the park and ballfields.
The envisioned park is impossible without the passage of a five-year 1.5-mill levy that would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $52.50 per year, or $4.37 per month. The levy would generate about $91,000 per year and if voters approve it on the May 2 ballot, the township will begin receiving money and start work on the new playground and pavilion next March.
"We need the help," said Dean, a Deerfield native and a 16-year township trustee. "We really want to make this a premier township park. We want people to drive by and say 'Wow, look at that place.' That really is our goal."
The township purchased the five acre property across from the Hot Stove Ball Park off junction 225 at a sheriff's sale years ago. The trustees invested township money to build a half-court basketball and a playground. The wooden structure was torn down mid-summer last year because it not longer met safety standards.
"The township kids have nowhere to play," Dean said. "There's no playgrounds around here. We desperately need that."
Dean said if the levy passes, the trustees will put the projects out to bid to find the best price. The township also hired a certified grant specialist, who recently applied for a fire grant, to research park grants for the township.
Whether the levy passes or not, the township has excavated an area of land for a soccer field and sand volley ball court.
"It's not that much money to put in," Dean said. "It's a few thousand, but in the big scheme of things it's not that much money."
Dean, whose father was Mike Dean, an active member of the Deerfield Civic Association, said the Association donated the ground where the town hall sits today and also organizes the annual Apple Butter Festival. He said he hopes one day to move the festival to the new community park.
"A state-of-the-art park would just be a great compliment to this whole area the township already owns," he said.
Dean said he doesn't expect a big voter turnout in May, because there's only one issue on the ballot, but hopes to have resident's support for a new community park. He also noted having a park levy would allow the trustees to spend less money from the general fund on the parks and more on improving the township.