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Buckeye Lake seeking funds for park improvements

BUCKEYE LAKE – Parks were on Buckeye Lake Village Council members’ minds Monday night as the village prepares to dedicate Ryan Park as Ryan- Braden Park 11 a.m. Saturday morning during a ceremony at the park. The park’s new name honors resident George Braden, who has contributed much to the community.

Buckeye Lake Parks and Recreation Commssion Chair Marianne Perine told council Ryan- Braden Park needs $1,217.12 worth of equipment, including swing seats, security lights, and a grill. Council Clerk Tim Matheny said the materials are budgeted, but council members said the village could really use some help with the labor.

“Sometimes we need to ask our neighbors,” said council member Jeryne Peterson, mentioning that Baltimore Rotary Club is sometimes willing to help neighboring communities with civic projects.

Resident Charlotte Basnett said most of communities have service organizations to help fund and maintain parks and other community services, like the Millersport Lions Club or the Baltimore Rotary. Buckeye Lake Village has no official service organizations, but the Buckeye Lake Youth Association, a private non-profit, raises money to fund Buckeye Lake youth activities.

Basnett said if Buckeye Lake Village’s parks were in better shape they would receive more use, and likely generate more funding. “We need some ingenuity to raise money for the parks,” she said.

That may be easier said than done.

“We’re all in the same boat,” said Russ Edgington, Licking County Parks District director. “To my knowledge, there are no alternative sources (of funding).” He said the county is cutting his budget by 50 percent next year. Edgington suggested the village try private fundraisers.

Sue Spiker, Licking County grants coordinator, had not much better news. She suggested the village apply for a Community Development Block Grant (which is funding the new walkway through the village) or an ODNR Natureworks grant. She said most grants require some match funding from the village. Spiker also suggested the village try to attract a service organization chapter such as the Kiwanis or Sertoma.

Licking County Foundation Director Connie Hawk was more optimistic. She said the Licking County Foundation has a field of interest fund that was established to support “charitable programs and projects in Buckeye Lake” called the Mary S. LeFevre Fund. In 2007, the Foundation made a grant award of $1,900 to the Friends of Buckeye Lake Library to purchase an outdoor bookdrop. Hawk said village officials also might want to consider applying to The Energy Cooperative Round-Up Foundation for funding.

Braden contributed $100 toward the park fund at the conclusion of Monday night’s meeting.

In other council news:

• Council President Charlene Hayden said the new PetPlex facility on Ohio 79 has received its necessary approvals and construction is beginning. “They’re on their way,” she said.

Not so fast, said Licking County Planner Brad Mercer. He said the developer began construction without a development or floodplain permit and was ordered to halt construction until the permits are obtained. “I don’t know where we’ll go from there,” said Mercer.

• Director of Development Valerie Hans said the village’s website is completely updated, including council members’ email contacts. She added that the police department is accepting donations to purchasing Halloween candy for local children.

• Peterson commended local fire departments, which quickly contained a fire in less than half an hour in Cranberry Bay.

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