What you should know about the newest park in West Chester

Tim Franck, Community Services Director, West Chester Township offers the community a preview of Keehner Park s newest playground. GINNY MCCABE

Another Keehner Park playground is being renovated and updated with new equipment. The playground is scheduled to open for play this spring.

The playground is located on the east side of Keehner Park, near the basketball/tennis courts and ball fields. The West Chester Board of Trustees approved the plans for the improvement in November of 2017. A second playground on the west side of Keehner Park was replaced in 2016.

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The new playground will include four slides, monkey bars, a climbing pole, a balance beam and an “Xcelerator” spinning feature designed for children ages 5 to 12. The existing playground, designed for kids ages 2 to 5, and swing set will remain in place.

We talked to Tim Franck, Community Services Director, West Chester Township to find out more about Keehner Park’s newest playground.

Keehner Park features rentable shelters, two playground areas, creek-side wooded trails, recreational sports courts/fields, and more. The 123-acre property is the home to numerous free community events, annually. Keehner Park is located at 7211 Barret Road in West Chester.

Q: What do you like the most about West Chester?

A: I like that the Township is both rural and urban in character, residents get the best of both worlds.

Q: One of the things you’ve been working on is a new playground for Keehner Park. Can you bring us up-to-date on that project?

A: The old play equipment was about 20 years old. It has been removed and the space has been cleared to accommodate the larger foot print for the new playground. (The contractor is scheduled to install the new play equipment the week of February 5th, weather permitting.)

Q: When did you begin the project, and when is the playground slated to open?

A: Funding for the project was approved by the Board of Trustees on November 14th and the equipment was ordered at that time. Demolition was accomplished over the last few weeks and the playground will be available for use in the spring.

Q: How much will the playground cost?

A: The Township budgeted $42,000 for this playground replacement.

Q: How many playgrounds are there at Keehner and how are they positioned/set up?

A: There are two playgrounds at Keehner Park designed for children ages 5-12 and a toddler playground designed for children ages 2-5.

Q: How does the new playground complement some of the other improvements at Keehner Park over the last few years?

A: The east playground is one of several major renovations that have taken place at Keehner Park. Over the last several years the Township has renovated restroom facilities, replaced playgrounds, resurfaced parking areas, stained the Amphitheatre structure and repaired seating at the Amphitheater, removed dead ash trees, planted many new trees, and replaced the roof on the cabin and several shelters.

Q: What are some of the amenities/equipment planned for the park?

A: The Township also plans to renovate the tennis/basketball courts in 2018.

Q: For those that haven’t visited Keehner Park can you give us a snapshot or overview of what Keehner Park offers?

A: Keehner Park has remained true to its origins with a blend of active and passive recreational amenities, all situated along the east fork of the Mill Creek. Because of its natural setting, visitors can enjoy wooded trails that travel along the banks of the east fork of the Mill Creek with natural clay, fossils and seasonal plant life.

Keehner Park is also a popular venue for family reunions, birthday parties and other gathering with shelters available for rent, open space and the playgrounds. There is also an 1800’s log cabin in the park that is open for special programs.

The Keehner Park Amphitheatre is home to the Saturday night West Chester Concert Series during the summer months as well as a summer Shakespeare performance and an occasional movie night. The Great Pumpkin Fest is another highlight of the year at Keehner Park.

So, whether attending a specific event or just looking for a place to enjoy the outdoors, Keehner Park provides many options.

Q: Why would you encourage residents to visit Keehner Park?

A: Keehner Park is one of the many amenities offered in West Chester for residents. It’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

Q: How do outdoor activities, like those that the park, add to the quality of life in West Chester?

A: Amenities like Keehner Park help to define West Chester as one of “America’s Best Places to Live,” but more importantly parks and other amenities help build a sense of community as a gathering space for friends and neighbors and co-workers. Parks also offer health benefits by setting aside green space for outdoor active recreation.

Q: How many parks are there in West Chester?

A: Beckett Park, Keehner Park, and The Square @ Union Centre.

The Board of Trustees has remained committed to maintaining and renovating these amenities over the years to be enjoyed by all residents. It is the hope that all Township residents take advantage of and enjoy the opportunities they represent. It is expected that park users abide by the park rules, make sure trash is fully enclosed in receptacles provided, keep pets on their leashes and clean up after them, report any suspicious activity to police and any damaged equipment to Community Services. It’s important that every resident play a role in making sure the parks stay safe and clean; and continue to be a positive experience for everyone.

Q: Anything else you’d like to highlight or talk about?

A: Please visit our website at www.WestChesterOh.org to learn more about West Chester Township, our parks and the Community Services Department.

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

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