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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2004

Jerusalem Township: Funds sought for recreation park Cost estimate is $1.5M

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Jerusalem Township hopes that sponsorships, grants, and fish dinners will bring in enough money to build a recreation facility on land it bought four years ago.

The park, a little more than 23 acres on Sacks Road between Yondota and Teachout roads, will have four baseball diamonds, three soccer fields, a walking trail, sand volleyball court, and a building with restrooms and concessions.

The plans are still in preliminary stages, said Karen Zelinko, of Athletic Field Services, Inc., which is designing the park.

The facility is expected to cost about $1.5 million, of which about $900,000 is for the ball fields. The building and the parking lot make up the rest of the cost, Ms. Zelinko said.

The township started raising money for the facility in December and is trying to get enough to start work and apply for matching grants from the state, Recreation Director Lonnie Hart said.

“We haven t raised a whole lot,” he said.

The township has held teen dances and a spaghetti dinner. It is planning fish dinners for the last Fridays of February and March and more fund-raisers later, said Marvel Olstad, chairman of the recreational facility committee.

But right now much of the township s focus is on community awareness.

“We don t expect to raise a million dollars at these fund-raisers,” Mrs. Olstad said.

The township wants to make sure that residents are involved with the park and know they re working for a cause that will be here for years to come. They can help simply by coming to a fund-raising event, she said.

Other possibilities for funding are corporate partnerships, perhaps with major beverage companies, Mrs. Olstad said.

Also, the township plans to approach companies for donated services or funds, and is considering naming rights, Ms. Zelinko said.

“The recreation board has really bent over backwards to get this started,” township Trustee John Hansen said.

The township has leased the land to a farmer for the coming year, which gives it a year to raise money before most of the work begins. It would like to get surveying done before this year s crops are too high and start construction in fall, 2005, Mr. Hart said.

He said the township plans to have the seven athletic fields done within the next five years.

Among the issues the designers are still considering is access to the park. Sacks Road may not be wide enough to handle traffic from a park entrance there, so the entrance may be on Yondota Road instead, Ms. Zelinko said.

They also want to meet with Oregon Public Schools officials because Jerusalem Elementary School is next to the site.

The township pays neighboring Oregon an average of $22,000 to $23,000 a year for the use of its ball fields for recreational leagues, Mr. Hart said.

About 210 children play baseball or softball, 40 play football, 20 are on the pep squad, and 132 play soccer, he said.

The township bought the property in 2000. It had planned to build a recreation facility behind the township hall, but there were concerns about Route 2 traffic, he said. When land next to the school became available, they bought it.

“It s right behind the school, so it s in a great location,” he said.



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