Thursday, August 12, 1999

County allots green for parks

Waynesville amphitheater on fund list

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WAYNESVILLE — Performers and show-goers in this village's Community Park Amphitheater will no longer be singing in the rain.

        The Warren County Commission agreed this week to give $50,000 to the village to rebuild the roof at the outdoor amphitheater and to pay for several other park projects. One such project pays consultants to plan recreation on 26 acres about to be annexed from Wayne Township.

        The grant came out of $500,000 set aside by the commission earlier this year in its attempt to spend more money on green space before it becomes blacktop.

        “If we don't act now, it's going to be too late,” Warren County Commissioner Larry Crisenbery said Wednesday.

        A survey by The Cincinnati Enquirer in May found that Tristate communities from Butler to Boone counties are scrambling to buy land to build parks for their burgeoning populations before it's developed.

        Warren County's allotment of $500,000 for parks this year is up from the typical annual sum of $20,000 funneled to the Warren County Park District. The extra money is from a surplus from the real estate transfer tax.

        Before this week's grant to Waynesville, the county spent $300,000 of its set-aside for the park district's purchase of 84 acres in Washington Township for nature trails and ballfields.

        Waynesville's portion will help put a permanent roof at the Community Park Amphitheater at Dayton and Franklin roads. The need for repairs became all the more obvious last weekend when a sudden rain began sprinkling Ray Foster's Big Nostalgia Band.

        “I was sitting there Saturday thinking this is not a moment too soon,” said Kevin Harper, village manager, who attended the event.

        Last winter's weather tore up the chain-linked mesh roof, he said. A new, permanent roof made of wood will cost $35,000. Less than half of that will come from the county dollars.

        Another $15,000 to $25,000 of the county grant will pay for a consultant to devise a plan to develop parks and recreation on 26 acres. The land, bought by Waynesville for $400,000 earlier this summer, is being annexed from Wayne Township. The village plans a series of public meetings this fall on how to use the land.

        The remaining $10,000 to $15,000 of the county grant will pay for existing park projects or the purchase of more park land, Mr. Harper said.

        “It (the money) is vital,” he said. “We're a small but growing community. ... We just want to make sure we have adequate space and adequate facilities.”


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