Work on one new park should start yet this year, while improvements to a second new park will likely wait until next spring.
Wapakoneta Breakfast Optimist members intend to start working this fall with city crews to develop the park at the site of the former Centennial Elementary School, a city administrator said.
“The Wapakoneta Breakfast Optimist look to be moving forward on the park and they have a grand design in mind with playground equipment and signage,” Wapakoneta Safety-Service Director Bill Rains said. “They are moving ahead and hope to make significant progress in October.”
Club members have already examined city playground equipment in storage and have selected pieces to be installed in the playground area.
On Monday, a Breakfast Optimist Club member dropped off a proposed drawing for the playground area. He was scheduled to address Wapakoneta City Recreation Board member, but Monday’s meeting was canceled due to the lack of a quorum.
The Wapakoneta Breakfast Optimist pledged $20,000 to the city to help develop the park, which has been named Wapak Breakfast Optimist Park. The Wapak Soccer Club pledged $40,000 toward the park to help develop land for soccer fields. The city paid $30,000 toward the $90,000 price tag for the land.
Rains explained the city used equipment to remove rocks from an area of the park ground where the elementary school building set and he believes now would be the opportune time to start planting grass seed on the barren portion of ground.
An area resident and farmer, Todd Place, told Rains he would contact local companies about donating grass seed to plant on the ground.
“We hopefully are getting to the point where the roughest part of summer is over and if we cannot secure that donation then we will have to proceed somehow,” Rains said. “We want to make that ground ready and presentable because we want to make sure this is a wonderful place in the spring.”
Rains noted he plans to have discussions with Wapak Soccer Club board members regarding when is the best time to start playing on the field which is to be seeded this fall. He said he may request a delay in using the field since he would like to see the grass well rooted so it does not get torn up from the players’ cleats. He will consider the wishes of the club.
The safety-service director is not worried about the existing grassed field because that grass has a more established root system.
“There is still a tremendous amount of ground at the park where they can go and still be very successful with their programs,” Rains said. “They also can still use Veterans Memorial Park until the ground is ready for the spring and fall soccer leagues.”
As far as the development of the former Lanning Farm property into a city dog park, Rains explained Eagle Scout candidate Travis Rohrbach is concentrating this fall and winter on fundraising for the project and the ground will be developed in the spring.
“I had the opportunity to meet with the prospective Eagle Scout and his mother and a representative of the dog park people and I think we have a pretty good idea from which to start,” Rains said, noting an area for the fence perimeter is marked. “There is a lot of fence that is available to them which should cut down their cost on the project so that money can be used elsewhere for things like dog equipment, park benches and maybe even a doggy water fountain.
“We all want to work together and make that park happen,” he said, “but we are scheduled to start their in the spring and should be ready sometime in the summer.”