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Park team gets ball rolling

Xavier Smith • Mar 3, 2017 at 1:37 PM

The Don Fox Park Advisory Team held its first meeting Wednesday, and the appointed chairman discussed the make up of the committee, as well as challenges and advantages facing the committee.

The Don Fox Park advisory team will develop a master plan and make recommendations to Mayor Bernie Ash regarding the future renovations of Don Fox Park. The council approved up to $500,000 for renovations, repair, replacement and additions to the park’s infrastructure.

Members include Alex Buhler, chairman David Hale, Lanny Jewell, Mark Lee and Sue Vanatta.

“I think the mayor has put together a great committee. There are knowledgeable folks on there about playgrounds and those kinds of things,” Hale said.

Hale said the expertise of Buhler, former Lebanon parks and recreation director, would be instrumental to the group. He also described the positives of having himself, Vanatta and Lee on the team.

“Mark was the originator of the idea to built the stockade playground and was instrumental in raising the funds and led the charge for all those volunteers,” said Hale, who said more than 300 people worked to build Don Fox Park’s playground in 1995.

“The three of us have a passion for the park because of the amount of volunteer time the three of us put in there to build it originally, along with a lot of other folks.”

Hale believed the group recognized times have changed, along with the interests of children and park visitors, and would do what’s in the best interest of the public.

The team, unlike the West Side Park Task Force, is working with an existing facility, which Hale said presents a set of advantages and challenges.

“There’s a sentimental attachment to the stockade playground for a lot of folks in Lebanon who volunteered, so we have to balance the sentimental value of that with whether it’s truly a viable structure anymore,” Hale said.

Hale said the group must also be aware of planted trees and other items donated or placed in honor or remembrance of people. He said he’s received dozens of ideas from community members since the committee formed.

“There are a lot of good ideas out there. We just have to, as a committee, sort through those and find the ones that are economically feasible with the money we have allotted to us and are feasible for the park to have. There are only so many things you can put into that property,” he said.

Hale said citizens should submit ideas to the Lebanon mayor’s office for consideration from the committee.

“I think the citizens are going to be pleased when we get finished with what we’re able to do with the funds,” he said. 

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