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Published: Wednesday, 7/12/2006

Perrysburg renovations big hit with parkgoers

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A sponge-painting camp brings out some local youths to Perrysburg Municipal Park, which has a new recreation building and reconfigured ball fields. A sponge-painting camp brings out some local youths to Perrysburg Municipal Park, which has a new recreation building and reconfigured ball fields.
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With Perrysburg's summer recreation program in full swing, the renovations at Municipal Park and the new recreation building are very much appreciated.

"It has carpeting, and when it rains it won't blow into our faces," said Drew Newton, 6.

The renovations will be celebrated at a grand reopening at 5:30 p.m. Monday. The 19-acre facility, built in 1952, is the city's oldest active recreational park.

Meghan Burnard, 8,  paints a mask. Meghan Burnard, 8, paints a mask.
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"The park is beautiful," said Councilman Joe Lawless, chairman of council's recreation committee.

Drew and his older brothers J.P. and Chase met in the new classroom for last week's Make It and Take It craft session. The large room with plastic bins of craft supplies and low tables can be divided in two.

Programs used to be held in a much smaller garage with no air conditioning, said J.P., 10.

The boys' mother, Ann, said that last year the kids were given a lot of Popsicles to keep cool.

"I had about 600 of them last year," Drew said.

Jack Lawless, 6 1/2, and his brother Will Lawless, 4 1/2, check out a bag that Jack has decorated. Jack Lawless, 6 1/2, and his brother Will Lawless, 4 1/2, check out a bag that Jack has decorated.
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Last week, with the new building's front and back doors propped open, the building had a cool breeze flowing down the hallway.

The new 4,000-square-foot recreation building, in the middle of the park near the tennis courts and ball fields, has office and storage space and a kitchen, as well as the classrooms for the summer recreation program. One corner of it is a concession stand, to serve the ball fields when they open next year after the grass has taken root.

About 2,000 children participate in the recreation programs, choosing from a variety of sports, crafts, and performing arts.

Indoor activities were previously held in a 53-year-old garage, which sometimes got hotter than the 95-degree temperatures outside, recreation program director Jim McMorgan said.

Even with the air conditioning, he's happy to have a kitchen with room for an ice maker and stacks of boxes of FlavorIce Plus.

The park also has more parking spaces - which parents said they appreciated - a walking trail, and rebuilt ball fields.

The renovations completed this year cost about $1 million, about $40,000 of which was funded with grants from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The first phase of the project, which added some parking spaces, cost less than $150,000.

The city closed and removed Silver Maple Street, which used to run through the park between Locust and Elm streets, because children ran across the street to the municipal pool.

The new paved walking trail provides a route through the park that doesn't cross athletic fields.

In the future, the city could add a shelter and a gazebo.



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