Every year the Darke County Park District receives the annual settlement from their tax levy. $50,000 of that is given back to the 21 communities in Darke County via the community grants program. These grants are used to improve active recreational facilities such as baseball diamonds, children’s’ playgrounds, and basketball courts. This year $46,676.61 was distributed throughout twelve communities.
Some examples of local park improvements include Versailles using their $7,000 grant to remove and replace the basketball court at Ward Park. The court had a raised lip around the edge that would facilitate flooding for a skating rink, and it had become a danger to basketball players. The lip was removed and the court replaced. In Wayne Lakes, the community used their $5,000 grant to upgrade plumbing and electric at the Little Beach Park Concession building in order to receive the permit to open for the next season. In Pitsburg a new backstop for baseball diamond #2 was constructed with their $5,000 grant.
The community grants program began in 1995, and since that time $757,799.76 has been dispersed throughout the county. Each March members of the 21 communities are invited to attend a meeting where they receive a grant packet describing the possible uses for the funds and the grant application process. They then submit their grant application by May 15th, and a committee of seven people, including the Darke County Park District Board of Commissioners, reviews these applications by June. At that point the grant recipients are notified and may begin work on the project. By December 1st, when the projects are completed and all paperwork has been submitted showing that the communities have paid for them, the reimbursement checks will be written and distributed.
Roger Van Frank, Director of the Darke County Park District, said, “This has been a full community program, and the Darke County Park District could not do it without the help of volunteers in each of these local communities.” For more information or questions about the community grants program through the Darke County Park District, please contact their office Administrative Assistant Deb Shiverdecker at (937) 548-0165.
Photo Caption-From left to right: Tina White, incoming Darke County Park Board Commissioner; Mayor Dan Howe of the Village of Rossburg; Mayor Gary Lee Young of the Village of Wayne Lakes; Darke County Park Board Commissioner Roger Brocious; Joe Wagner, Village of North Star council member; Village of Ansonia Administrator Tom Welbaum; Patty Jackson, Village of New Madison council member; Jennifer Scantland, Palestine; Fiscal Officer Karen Stubbs of the Village of Union City, Ohio; Christoph Keller, Pitsburg; Retired Darke County District Board Member Susan Gray; and Darke County Park Board Commissioner Steve Shaltry. Not pictured: the Villages of Gettysburg and Versailles and the City of Greenville.