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City holds Bancroft Park input meeting

| September 23, 2016

COSHOCTON – Last spring, the city leveled the fencing and play equipment at Bancroft Park. On Sept. 21, about 20 people gathered at the Knights of Columbus Hall to hear the city’s possible plans for the park. Mayor Steve Mercer and Steve Jones, director of parks and recreation, shared ideas and asked for input on what the neighborhood wanted at the park.

Photos of possible equipment that could be installed were shared with the group.  This equipment included swings, two pieces that have climbing areas and slides and several smaller items. One major concern was that the park be geared more to smaller children and the majority of the group felt that the larger of the pieces would attract teenagers that might be looking for trouble.

One of the biggest problems the park has faced is vandalism and drug activity.  Many families avoid the park because of this and asked what safety precautions the city could provide. Mayor Mercer stated that security cameras were possible, like the ones that were installed at the Himebaugh Lot. More lighting was also requested by the citizens and Mercer felt that was a possibility.

Mercer stated that city wanted this to be a “family area” and not a “hangout place” for people looking to cause problems. He said that he is determined that bad guys will not keep the neighborhood from having a park. The city is ready to forge ahead with plans so the city can have beautiful and safe parks for the residents.

Ideas were shared by the group that included what type of fencing, if any, is needed and how much of the park should remain a grassy area for children to play ball and just to run around. One resident was concerned a chain link fence would encourage ball players to try to hit the ball over the fence and she has had car damage due to this happening before the old fence was removed.

Most felt some type of fence was needed, if only to help keep small children from running into the street. Another possibility is an open-sided shelter. At this, 5-year-old Ethan raised his hand and requested a shelter so he wouldn’t get wet.  Another concerned citizen, 9-year-old Zoey asked for benches for moms to watch their children without having to stand as much.

All suggestions were noted and much of the discussion centered on how to keep the park from becoming a gathering place and how to keep the children safer.  Painting crosswalks on 11th Street and Orchard Street is an option to help remind drivers to watch for children crossing the street. The group was encouraged that security cameras and more lighting were possible.

At this time, the city plans to do the park in phases with the first part beginning this fall. A blacktop walking path, a bus shelter and a few parking spaces could be added before winter. Funds for the park will be provided by the park levy, grants and community service organizations that have expressed an interest in helping.

While no plans were finalized at the meeting, both Mercer and Jones expressed their appreciation that so many people have offered suggestions and concerns.  Residents are encouraged to contact either of them with any more concerns or ideas.

Category: People & Places

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