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Published: Tuesday, 2/28/2006

Swanton given money for park land

SWANTON - Village council accepted a $20,000 donation last night from the Swanton Corn Festival committee for the purchase of nearly five acres in the 600 block of North Main Street where a community park could be developed.

The Corn Festival committee and the Swanton Rotary Club have agreed to work together to develop a master plan for the proposed park, said Jon Gochenour, village administrator. It isn't known yet what the park would include, such as playground equipment or ballfields.

It would likely be a couple of years before the park is developed, he said. In the meantime, a master plan could be used as part of applications for grants for development of the park, Mr. Gochenour said.

The village will negotiate with Steven Raker, owner of the 4.91-acre parcel, for the purchase. No formal offer has been made, Mr. Gochenour said, but the owner is interested in selling the land to the village.

The $20,000 from the Corn Festival committee represents a portion of the proceeds raised during the annual summer festival. Last year, the Corn Festival committee shifted its mission statement and earmarked proceeds for a community park rather than a community center. Financial concerns and the logistics of running a community center were among reasons for the change.

The village has three parks - Memorial, Pilliod, and Rotary. Goals outlined last year by the village's park and recreation board included developing a park in the town's northern section.

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