Tom Davis

Tom Davis, executive director, Pickaway County Parks District.

CIRCLEVILLE— The Pickaway County Park District awarded $125,000 in grant funding to Pickaway County parks during 2019, up more than double from last year.

“Previously we’d only given $5,000 and we said you couldn’t ask for more than $1,000,” he said. “This year we upped it to $25,000 and people asked for some little bigger projects,” said Tom Davis, the district’s executive director.

Davis said with the requests, which exceeded $180,000, they worked with the local entities to determine if they could meet at least part of the funding threshold. The Park District ultimately decided to fund 10 projects. Four of the projects received the full request amount while the remaining six received partial amounts.

“We had more requested funds than we had available so we started working with them, saying if we only give you $15,000 can you do some of the work,” he said. “They’ve all been very accommodating.”

Davis said the park district has taken some heat on funding the acquisition of property at Barthelmas Park but he felt providing that funding was not only a good way to spend park dollars but keeps the promise they made to voters in 2017 ahead of the levy vote.

“We told them that we couldn’t guarantee anything, but since the city has half the population and more than half the parks in the county, that we would be wise to support them,” he said. “They said if you’d do that, here’s an opportunity that we’d like you to commit funds to. We have an agreement with them, if they sign it then that says we’ll give them money every year for five years out of this fund to help them buy it.”

The City of Circleville is trying to acquire roughly 20 acres of land to the south of Barthelmas Park from the Rhoads family. City council set a cap on a purchase price of no more than $300,000, and any deal will include funding by the park district and the city. The city also has applied for a $150,00 grant through a Land and Water conservation Fund, but won’t hear if it received that funding until this spring.

One of the communities that saw district money is Ashville, which received $7,308 in funding for picnic tables and benches at Ashville Park.

“We’re incredibly happy that the levy passed and that we’re able to immediately use money collected from those levies for the residents of Ashville and Pickaway County,” Franklin Christman, village administrator, said. “It’s very nice to see a tangible result from the public’s contribution from the tax levy.”

In addition to the projects in Ashville and Circleville, eight other entities received grant funding. Williamsport received $10,000 for a shelter house in Ballard Park, Darby Township received $17,715 for playground equipment and paving part of a walking path in Darby Township Park, Jackson Township received $9,000 for a walking path in Jackson Township Park, South Bloomfield received $13,000 for purchase of a shelter house in Marvin Webster Park, Friends of Deer Creek received $5,000 for purchase of concrete to be used in the renovation of the miniature golf course at Deer Creek State Park, Scioto Township received $15,200 for new playground equipment at Stahl Road Park in Orient, Tarlton received $1,508 for benches at Tarlton Community Park, Darbyville received $1,269 for benches at Darbyville Village Park and Circleville received $45,000 toward the purchase of land near Barthelmas Park.

During 2018, a little more than $50,000 was distributed in grant funding among 11 entities in amounts of up to $5,000.

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