Kathleen Morton

Local children play on the swings Monday afternoon at the Oxford Community Park playground, that will officially open with a ribbon cutting ceremony April 19.

Oxford children may soon have a new place to spend their afternoons.

A ribbon cutting ceremony to inaugurate a new playground at Oxford Community Park will be held at noon April 19. Oxford Mayor Jerome Conley will be speaking at the event, as well as the presidents of both the Kiwanis and Rotary Club, according to Gail Brahier, parks and recreation director for the city of Oxford.

More than $100,000 was initially awarded in grants from NatureWorks – a grant program from Ohio Department of Natural Resources – to provide for construction to the Oxford Community Park at 6801 Fairfield Rd.

In 2003, a $79,000 grant was provided for a concession stand by the baseball fields at the park. In June 2005, a $29,074 grant was donated with funds to develop a new K-12 playground, according to the NatureWorks Web site.

The Oxford Kiwanis Club donated two benches and an adaptive swing for the playground and the Oxford Rotary Club provided a shaded bench structure, according Brahier.

Brahier said she is thankful for the contributions the two organizations have made to the Oxford community over the past years.

“(The Kiwanis and Rotary Club) support the community in so many ways,” Brahier said. “The service department with the city has done a lot of work in-house, meaning they have … graded and seeded the southern soccer fields, extended the walking paths, and put the final touches on the new playground, such as the landscaping and path.”

President of the Kiwanis Club, Gail Paveza, said that Kiwanis is involved in many services in the community, and the organization does whatever it can do to help the community – especially when it involves children.

“Kiwanis is very proud to be able to contribute (the equipment) to the K-12 playground at the Community Park,” Paveza said. “It is keeping with our mission to improve the world one child at a time.”

The 113 acres of park is home to 2.5 miles of paved walking paths and .5 miles of wooded paths, four lighted softball and baseball fields, shuffle board courts, horseshoe pits, basketball and sand volleyball courts, a Gazebo and the recently improved playground.

The park has been the location of certain annual Oxford events, including a kite festival in the fall. Miami University fraternity Delta Sigma Theta sponsored a Pink Ribbon Run in March, and in early April, a charity bike ride was organized by the American Medical Student Association to raise money for Ride for World Health.

Talawanda High School and Miami University’s club baseball and softball teams have taken advantage of the fields for their home games and practices. Miami junior Zach Mayer, a club baseball member, said the director of field operations is very accommodating to the team to get the field on short notice.

More than $2 million in NatureWorks grants have been awarded for local parks and improvement projects in 78 Ohio communities, including Butler County in May 2005.

Since October 2003, phases of the Oxford Community Park have undergone changes. Kaywrench Drive, a road through the park to Brookville Road, is due to be completed in July.

“(The two roads give) you have access to the park from Fairfield Road and Brookville Road,” Brahier said. “It’s a connector road.”

According to Brahier, the city of Oxford hopes to install a second wagon wheel, a family center, and have the location of the park be a possible option for a new swimming pool.

“It might take a few more years until everything is completed,” Brahier said.