CIRCLEVILLE — Circleville City Council once again heard about concerns with renovations at Ted Lewis Park.
Cicely Esterline, spoke at city council on “behalf of her fellow children” about the renovations being made to Ted Lewis Park.
Esterline asked council about tennis courts, basketball courts and the skate park being removed from Ted Lewis as part of the 2015 master plan the city is following through on.
“I believe it’s beneficent to our residents to have a location that is safe for physical activity, not only to our children, but other age groups as well,” she said.
“If the overall park design doesn’t include tennis courts, basketball courts and a skate park, it will mainly serve younger children and older adults. With the exception of the ball diamonds, the physical activity needed for tweens and teenagers would not be met at the park.
In response to Esterline’s comments, Circleville City Council President David Crawford said the mayor was looking into alternate sites for the skate park and that there are other courts in Circleville. He said citing the survey they did at the time of the master plan, the three items mentioned — a skate park, basketball courts and tennis courts — were low on the list of things to include in the park.
“We asked the residents what they would like to see in a rejuvenated Ted Lewis Park and they gave us a list, and the three things you bring up tonight…were at the bottom,” he said. “We didn’t have room for everything, so those were left off. However, before we left those off, we wanted to make sure there was other availability in the city.
I believe there are basketball courts at the high school and they have redone the tennis courts and added two more which we hope will alleviate the needs of the citizens,” Crawford added.
Circleville Mayor Don McIlroy said plans to start the renovation using the $1.5 million the city borrowed will likely begin in August.
In addition to Esterline’s statement and questions, council, with two members absent, held three pieces of legislation for a second reading. With only five present members, legislation could not be approved on a first reading.
The first was a piece of legislation to authorize and implement the labor agreement between the non-uniformed employees organization.
“This is a negotiated agreement between the city and they have voted to accept the agreement and this allows the city to accept the agreement as well,” Barry Keller, council member, said prior to making the motion to hold it for the second reading.
The second piece of legislation would allow the city to accept funding from the American Rescue Plan Act for any losses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Keller said the city would likely receive about $1.5 million over two years.
“We have up to year 2024 to spend the money, but we don’t know yet how the money can be used,” Keller said. “That will be brought to council at a later date. Once the city receives the funds, they’ll be appropriated to the general fund.”
According to Keller, the third piece of legislation amended the city’s budget to better organize payroll so it’s easier to understand for all parties involved.
“The purpose is to make it better to understand the budgeting process for all the city employees and getting them all in one-line item,” Keller said. “While there are a lot of dollars moving around, there is no addition or subtraction to the budget. It’s for budgeting and accounting purposes for the auditor’s office and the administration.”
During his opportunity to report to Circleville City Council, McIlroy gave council a brief update, sharing that there would be a significant number of people downtown for the 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
“They’re going to be utilizing some of Franklin Street and South Court Street,” he said. “They have been successful in bringing in 54 teams, and do the math, there’s four players and one coach. I think we’re going to have a very successful day for our downtown merchants with bringing a lot of people in this community. We look forward to that.”
McIlroy also thanked Dane Patterson and the service department for their efforts in cleaning up the sidewalks.
“I asked them to go downtown and clean up all the weeds off the sidewalks and the buildings and they did a remarkable job,” he said. “Downtown looks great. Now we need to start working with property owners to continue to maintain that.”