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May 1, 2013

[caption width="250" caption=" Crews work on one of two restroom-concession stands at Smith Park, which continues to undergo improvements funded by the 2008 park levy. The structures are expected to be in service by the fall sports season. (GAZETTE | Devon Immelt) "][/caption]

KATE LIEBERS

Staff Writer

The levy-funded restrooms and concession stands at Mingo and Smith parks are expected to open to the public this fall.

The projects represent a milestone for Delaware City’s recreational facilities, which will be better equipped to serve more visitors and attract more tournaments.

This could ultimately help the parks generate more money, said Don Shannon, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and member of the Park Improvement Levy Committee.

“The addition of the restrooms and the concession, as well as other improvements, gives us a better chance of competing with other communities who are bringing teams and dollars to Delaware,” Shannon said.

By offering refreshments, the three 1,500-square-foot stations could also turn adult league games into family events, Shannon said.

Watching the parks transform could also inspire more people to join a recreational team, he added.

“It’s starting to create a buzz about the softball complex and the park,” Shannon said.

At Smith Park, contractors are building a combined restroom-concession structure on both the north and south ends of the park. This marks a significant improvement for the park, which previously did not have food vendors nor permanent toilets in years past.

At Mingo, the former restroom and concession stands were demolished to pave the way for a more centralized station. In addition to being in a more accessible location, the new structure will be about three times larger, community affairs coordinator Lee Yoakum said.

“These are great improvements for both parks,” Yoakum said. “They are long overdue and amenities that will serve all of our residents.”

The walls of both Smith stations have been built, and one is under roof. The plumbing at Mingo is currently being installed. While the Smith stations have progressed further than Mingo’s, Yoakum said both are on schedule.

The two Smith Park facilities will cost $567,800 and the one at Mingo will cost $238,400 — both of which are within the budget, Yoakum said.

G & G Enterprises, a Bellville company, is completing work at Smith, while Trucco Construction, Inc., a Delaware company, is completing the work at Mingo.

The projects are funded by the 2008 park improvement levy, which has made several other large improvement projects possible in the last two years.

At Smith, the No. 4 outfield was leveled, infields were improved, drainage tile and a water line were installed, a ramp access to the fields was installed and 1,000 feet of new walking paths were added.

Crews are to pave an 82-space parking lot as well as complete electrical and sewage work in the future.

At Mingo, a new 82-space parking lot was added, surface work was completed at the existing lot, athletic fields were re-graded, new dirt surfaces were laid at the Daily and Ziegler Fields and a new fence was installed at the Little League field.

Shannon said that the Park Improvement Levy Committee welcomes any community feedback regarding future adjustments to the transforming parks.

He invites people to share their ideas at the Park and Recreational Advisory Committee meetings, which are held at the YMCA community room at 1121 S. Houk Road and always open to the public.

Meeting calendars can be accessed through the city’s website at delawareohio.net/Departments/Government/Agendas.aspx.