Canton planning playground expansion

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A few years ago, the two acres of land off Jefferson Avenue at Mark Avenue in Canton Township had little purpose other than in the summer when a girl’s softball league would take to the field.


Eighteen months ago, the Canton Township Parks and Recreation Board and community volunteers installed playground equipment purchased with township funding and a $15,000 grant.


Now the park board has bigger and better plans aimed at attracting all residents, regardless of age.


Rick Zatta, a member of the parks board and architectural consultant, designed plans for the additions at the playground. Benches will be placed throughout the area, and a quarter-mile walking trail will be built along the perimeter of the property. The new equipment will include a swing that is handicapped accessible. Additional parking also will be added at the site, and flowering trees will be planted throughout the playground.


A few years ago, the township supervisors sent out a survey to residents asking what they would like to see in a park.


“We started talking about it last fall,” Zatta said. “Many of the residents were interested in having a walking trail.”


The cost of the new equipment is about $16,000. Zatta said the equipment has to be installed by the company from which it is purchased in order to maintain the warranty.


Robin Elliott, chairman of the park board, said it is important to provide activities to keep young people busy.


“It takes a community to grow children,” she said. “It will be nice to have a place to have things like our Easter egg hunt. I’d like to plan more activities for families at the playground.”


When the playground is complete, the board plans to tackle the development of about 40 acres on West Wylie Avenue. Elliott expects that will take several years to develop. The board will be looking for grants to help cover the cost.


“It has endless possibilities,” Elliott said of the area off West Wylie.


Elliott encourages residents to “like” the board on Facebook at Canton Township Park & Recreation. Information on activities planned throughout the year also can be found at www.yourcanton.com. The next event planned is the annual picnic at Sunset Beach Park in Buffalo Township on July 28.


The board, which meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the township building, 644 Grove Ave., also is looking for a few new members.


“We’d love to have residents come to our meeting and share some of their ideas,” Elliott said.


Anyone interested in becoming a member is asked to call Zatta at 407-592-6728. Anyone who would like to purchase a bench to honor a loved one or to recognize their business, or is interested in donating to the cost of the improvements at the park, also is asked to call Zatta.


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