CLARKSVILLE — A park for the village is getting closer to becoming a reality.
Early in 2019, Clarksville residents voiced their interest in a community park. Wade Hall, President of the Friends of Clarksville group, stated then that if locals wanted to go to a park they had to travel to Wilmington or Blanchester.
So, the search began for a park location.
“There was an empty lot at the corner of 1st and Main Streets in the center of the village that seemed to be the perfect location for the park,” said Hall. “It was sidewalk accessible so that families could walk or maybe ride their bicycles to the park. It was close to local businesses which could provide access to food or drinks.”
After some doing some research, it was discovered that the site was owned by the Clarksville United Methodist Church. Locals met with the church to see if they would be interested in turning the lot into a community park.
“They were interested but felt that the church did not have the resources available to develop the park,” said Hall.
After several meetings and discussions, the locals decided to set up Friends of Clarksville, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in July 2019.
The group’s mission is “building community, restoring hope and growing (the village’s) future.”
Hall told the News Journal they knew they needed guidance regarding the development of a community park, so they contacted Jermaine Isaac, Director of Wilmington Parks and Recreation.
“Jermaine graciously agreed to meet with us at our future park site on several occasions and even set up meetings with a couple of the playground equipment suppliers that he has used at the Wilmington parks,” said Hall. “Jermaine’s expertise was instrumental in getting our team started off with setting a park budget and seeing what types of playground equipment were available.”
Once a budget was determined for the park, attention moved toward funding. The group met with Jan Blohm, Clinton County Foundation executive director, and attended a grant writing seminar provided by the Clinton County Foundation.
The fundraising began with their Cruise-In in September, where they had raffle baskets that were donated by local businesses and private citizens.
“This allowed our fundraising campaign to get off to a great start,” said Hall, expressing gratitude to those who donated the baskets.
In December, Friends of Clarksville were informed they were given a $15,000 grant from HealthFirst of Clinton County.
They continued to raise funds through the first part of 2020 through “private and in-kind donations.”
“We were selected to be the first charity to take part in Caesar Creek Flea Market’s Friendshop program; 25 percent of the sales in a given month of donated items in selected shops in Aisle 2 go to a charity,” said Hall.
They also received an anonymous $10,000 donation this spring.
“So it important for those that are considering donating toward the park to do it now because their donations will be matched,” said Hall.
With the donations they’ve received so far, they’ve been able to purchase some playground equipment for the first phase of the park, with hopes of having the first phase opened this summer.
The playground has been designed with extra room for additional playground equipment that can be installed when future funding becomes available, Hall advised.
”The next phase will include this additional playground equipment and fencing along with associated park equipment. Some of the items that are being considered are park lighting, security cameras, bike racks, trash cans, additional benches, and an Ohio native plant garden,” he said.
He said Friends of Clarksville thanks all the businesses and the Clarksville community for their generous support of the Community Park. A special thank you to HealthFirst for Clinton County, Clarksville United Methodist Church, Duncan Homes, Caesar Creek Flea Market’s Friendshop, Blankenbeckler Fencing and Construction, Lowe’s-Wilmington, Clarksville Corner Market, and Home Depot-Lebanon.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574