[ back ]
Prairie Twp. considers building recreation center
Prairie Township residents could soon see the development of a recreation center and a reduction in operation days for the township senior center.
On May 30, the Prairie Township trustees gave the go-ahead to architectural and engineering firm Moody-Nolan and Associates to study the feasibility and potential features of a township recreation center.
“The study is the first step to determine what kind of facility will best meet the community’s needs,” said Moody-Nolan representative Janet Jordan.
The firm’s portfolio includes The Ohio State University Schottenstein Center and regional YMCA facilities in Grove City, Gahanna, Hilliard, and Powell.
The study proposal outlines what will be examined for a community center. The firm will scrutinize demographic data and complete a market analysis of other recreation programs in the vicinity.
Another component will consider the programs and the spaces the facility might offer.
The study will also present possible sites for the center, as well as nail down the costs to build, maintain and staff it.
Moody-Nolan and township officials expect the analysis to be completed in six months.
Jordan said there are opportunities for resident input, including two public meetings and several closed meetings with community organizations.
The recreation center will be financed primarily by funds generated from the Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ).
The concept of a community center was tossed around for years as a way to improve the quality of life for residents. Only since the passage of the JEDZ has the idea became a practical one, said Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker.
If a recreation center is built, it will house the township senior center, which is now facing a potential reduction in hours of operation.
On May 16, the trustees voted to close the senior center on Saturdays. This was due to a lack of volunteer staffing and low attendance, said Robin Comeans, director of the senior center.
The decision was initially effective on June 2, but at the May 30 meeting, residents contested the move and the trustees conditionally reconsidered.
“If there is enough interest for Saturdays, and enough volunteers, we will keep it open,” said Trustee Vice Chairman Steve Kennedy. “But if nobody steps forward to provide leadership and staffing to keep the doors open, we will be forced to close it.”
According to Comeans, the trustees will make a final decision at its June 13 meeting.
“If we can get volunteers to staff Saturdays until August, we will keep it open, but it’s been a real problem keeping volunteer staffing levels up,” Comeans said.
[ back ]