By Kimber Caito, Media Coordinator, Fairfield County Park District
In the first three articles of this series, we talked about Smeck Park in Baltimore, Arney Run Park and Two Glaciers Park that are south-southwest of Lancaster, Cross Mound Park near Tarlton, and Sensory Trail Park near OU-Lancaster. Let’s go northwest to Violet Township.
CROSS MOUND PARK
THEN (Before 2017) Many called it ‘the soccer park’ because it is often used by Pickerington Area Soccer Association for practices. Using funds from the levy that passed in 2011, a playground with swings, a slide, and climbing equipment was installed. The centerpiece of this park, though, is the awesome picnic shelter that is patterned after Rock Mill Covered Bridge. This is the park we recommend to those who need an ADA-compatible walkway from the parking lot to the shelter. Zeller Park is just minutes from Pickerington, Canal Winchester, and Lancaster, so it is an ideal spot for family reunions, picnics, or just getting out to play! Bring the football, a ball and bat, or set up a net for volleyball or badminton, and have fun!
NOW (2017-Present) A new park sign was mounted near the entrance, picnic tables were cleaned and repainted (thanks to help from volunteers), new mulch was added under the swings, and playground equipment was repaired and power washed. And, just in time! During the pandemic, parks have remained open. Since entertainment options are severely limited, more and more people are coming to the parks. Except for the short period of time when a State order made us close the playground, it is cleaned regularly and is open for the children.
TOMORROW Plans for the future include a walking trail near Sycamore Creek and through the 29-acre park.
Just ‘down the road’ 1.4 miles is:
LOCKVILLE CANAL PARK
THEN & NOW (1983-Present) If you are a history buff, you probably know about Lockville Canal Park. For their age, the locks are in good condition compared with many others. However, they needed work to save them from further deterioration. Lock South 11 was repaired in 2013. Locks South 12 and 13 still need attention, but other projects had to take priority. Picnic tables and benches throughout the park make this a wonderful place to eat or sit and enjoy the scenery.
Walk down the old towpath beside the now-defunct Ohio & Erie Canal. Between Locks 11 and 12, is Hartman No 2 Covered Bridge. Last year, it was repaired, painted, and her name plaque hung at each end – she is so pretty! The bridge can be rented for small private events such as afternoon tea parties. A wedding ceremony on the bridge, a reception under the picnic shelter, many charming settings for photo ops – the perfect outdoor service!
TOMORROW Plans for the future of Lockville Canal Park include restorations of Locks South 12 and 13, interpretive signage, and a graveled walking trail that includes the original towpath and circles the park. The three locks here and nearby Bibler Lock will be a part of the new Ohio & Erie Canal Southern Descent Heritage Trail, a self-guided driving tour that will take you to canal features in Franklin, Fairfield, Pickaway, Ross, and Scioto Counties!
Both properties were acquired by donation from the Board of County Commissioners of Fairfield County – Lockville Canal Park in 1983, Zeller Park in 1998.
Funding for Fairfield County Park District is provided by a countywide ten-year property tax that expires this year. A renewal (not a new tax) will appear on the May 2021 ballot.
Plans for the next ten years include many improvements to existing parks such as: permanent restrooms; more ADA-compatible access; new playgrounds and picnic shelters; extend, improve, and add trails; maintain historical features such as the locks, covered bridges, windmill, and log-framed structures; continue operation of Rock Mill; and wetland mitigations. New parklands to be developed are Mambourg Park (opening soon), Stoney Hill Park, Hansel Park (with a dog park), and Wagner Preserve (heron rookery).
Get outside, beat pandemic fatigue at Fairfield County Parks – we’re here for you! Find these and all locations at fairfieldcountyparks.org.
And…watch for more ‘Then, Now, Tomorrow’ stories.