Seneca park board visits Fostoria Foundation Park

Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler (right) gestures as he provides information about Fostoria city parks to people attending the Seneca County Park District board meeting at Foundation Park Tuesday afternoon. People attending were (from left) office manager Shelly Smola, board members Lori Hall and Roland Zimmerman, Friends of the Seneca County Park District President Catherine Gase, board members Lee Martin and Carl Miller, Program Director Linda Rose and Executive Director Sarah Betts.

Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler updated Seneca County Park District’s board about Fostoria city parks Tuesday afternoon.

The board met at Fostoria’s Foundation Park for its June meeting to see the new batting cages installed on a former tennis court foundation. The netting for the batting facility was funded by a $9,700 Community Parks Grant from SCPD.

“I know the kids will put it to good use,” Keckler said.

Foundation Park, formerly known as Meadowlark Park, began has a land donation and soon grew to include more acreage. Today, the park encompasses 50 acres and includes 13 baseball and softball fields, playground equipment, picnic shelters, restrooms, concessions, an outdoor amphitheater and dog park in addition to the new batting facility. The park is owned by the city of Fostoria and managed by Geary Family YMCA.

Keckler said the Fostoria Community Foundation has made between $500,000 and $750,000 in improvements to the park in the last few years including new dugouts, playground equipment and scoreboards. The city received a NatureWorks grant to fund new restrooms.

He said the park’s amphitheater, built in the 1970s, hosts a summer concert series, and a composting facility has been added to the park in recent years.

Keckler said Foundation Park is one of seven city parks.

In her report, Program Director Linda Rose said attendance at programs has been affected by the weather.

She said 26 people attended the first Music on the Porch at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve, featuring a performance by SCPD Nature Preserves Manager Troy Gibson. Rose said the weather varied from dark clouds to sprinkles to heavy rain and a bit of lightning before ending the program with a rainbow.

Rose said summer camps start Monday with a 6-9 p.m. Adventure’s Eve Camp for ages 6-12 at Geary Family YMCA Fruth Outdoor Center, SR 18. Check the website, www.senecacountyparks.com for more camp information.

“Camps are always full because I never turn anybody away,” she said. “I just add more staff.”

Rose said summer seasonal worker Kathleen Root, from Rio Grande College, has been hired to assist with programming, gardening and with other projects as needed.

Executive Director Sarah Betts said another seasonal worker, Marianne “Liz” Coward, a Heidelberg University student, has been hired to assist Gibson.

Also in Gibson’s written report, he said the vault restroom at Forrest Nature Preserve is open for public use, and topsoil and seed has been planted around the construction site.

Site preparation has begun for a new storage/maintenance building at Garlo preserve, and architectural drawings have been approved.

Also at Garlo, mildew has been power washed off of wood decks around the lake and preserve.

He reported some criminal damaging vandalism at Garlo has been reported to the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office.

At Steyer Nature Preserve, Gibson said Clouse Electric is working on electrical upgrades and is waiting for water levels to go down before finishing. He said student volunteers from Old Fort High School recently painted the cabin and a group of volunteers from Ohio State University, studying in the medical field, spent a morning working on projects at the preserve.

In her report, Betts said a NatureWorks grant reimbursement has been received for the vault restroom.

She said Rose will be working with a Scout on an Eagle Scout project to develop pollinator habitat at Zimmerman Nature Preserve over the summer. It will include developing a plan for its location, removing grass, planting native seeds/plugs and adding signs.

Betts said two staff members of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association visited the district in early May. They stopped at Out and About Preschool and asked Rose to submit an article about the preschool for the next OPRA magazine.

She said she attended an OPRA region meeting in late May, hosted by Wood County Park District at its recently-opened archery range. The range is open to the public during park hours for people using their own equipment to shoot at permanent targets provided by the park district. Additional programming is provided by the staff. She said discussion already has begun between Tiffin Park and Recreation Department and park district about the possibility of establishing a similar public range in Seneca County.