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Falls to seek input on improvements

NEWTON FALLS — Village council plans to seek assistance in planning for improvements at community parks by creating a master plan, to include citizen input on what people want for the parks.

Council by a 5-0 vote Monday approved seeking proposals from consulting firms for creating a parks plan.

First Ward Councilman Zachary Svette, who works for the Trumbull County Metroparks, said plans will be to get input from citizens on what improvements or changes they want to see in the parks, by having two public meetings.

He said an inventory will be performed on all playground equipment and an inspection of the units to make sure they are safe, such as a merry-go-round at the Elizabeth Street Park that needs replaced.

The village also has its main Community Park and some other, smaller parks.

“We will also look at a capital improvement plan to replace items that we need to at the parks. We can look at fundraising to replace items and seek grants,” Svette said.

Third Ward Councilman Lyle Waddell, who said when he was mayor the parks were being reviewed, said the Elizabeth Street park needs upgrades and attempts were made previously to do this, but there was some opposition from residents.

“We need to hold meetings to see how people really feel about the parks. If they want equipment and buildings replaced and upgraded they need to take care of them,” he said, noting upgrades are needed for equipment to make them usable.

Resident Amanda Kropp said she and other residents want to provide input on the parks including Elizabeth Street Park in the 1st Ward.

She and other residents at the meeting were concerned about a resolution that was withdrawn from Monday’s agenda to remove and dispose of recreational amenities at Elizabeth Street Park such as playground equipment. The disposal of the items was to be through recycling or Internet auction.

“I rallied residents in the area to be here to discuss the park and share our ideas. I am glad I was paying attention to the agenda ahead of time. You knew fully what you intended on doing at that park until we came here and told you we did not want this, “ Kropp said to council.

Former councilman Joseph Bassista, who said he sat on the parks and recreation committee, said he and other councilman worked to make “the parks a staple of the community.”

“I would like to see a vision of where the parks are going to be,” he said.

Village Manager David Lynch said the village is seeking grants from different sources for the parks as well as placing more funds in the park and recreation fund.

“The parks will see some meaningful improvements in 2020. There will be tweaks done to make the parks look better,” Lynch said.

Second Ward Councilman John Baryak, who is serving as acting mayor, said he does not want to see the park and recreation budget shortchanged, with funds needed there for improvements.

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