Brimfield roundup: Dog parks, human parks and a memorial for Sam Wilson

image of the brimfield town hall, a white siding and brick building, on a cloudy day
Brimfield Township Townhall Natalie Wolford/The Portager

Parks Director Cassie Weyer is compiling the results from more than 100 survey responses about the Cranberry Creek Dog Park. Weyer will use the feedback to apply for a $5,000 PetSafe Bark for Your Park grant. If the grant funds come through, Weyer said she would like to improve or replace the park’s fencing and gate.

Many people who responded to the survey said they don’t have fences in their yards and valued the park for its fencing. Others, however, cited safety concerns, the need for a dog park makeover, lack of publicity and the lack of a water source. The survey will be open until May 10, and is accessible from the township’s Facebook page or by using a QR code posted at the dog park.

Lions Community Park

Though Weyer had planned to upgrade the two sand volleyball courts at Lions Community Park this year, the cost of new nets and poles may mean only one will get done in 2021. The other will wait until next year.

Weather has stalled progress on soccer fields at Lions Park as workers need five dry days to get the fields in shape for play.

Knowing that Covid concerns are keeping many people away from public events, Weyer has 

developed several self-guided activities:

  • New Park Bingo boards are posted on the Parks Department web page every month, offering participants a chance to enjoy park trails as they track plants, birds, bugs and other critters during their park outings.
  • Monthly craft projects are also posted online, with March’s project being a foldable birdhouse. The template is still available for download.
  • Weyer is also developing Riddle Hikes. Signs with clues will be posted on trails at Lions Park. Participants will have to solve each riddle and unscramble the letters they get to reveal the answer.
  • Family Fun Fridays will be offered the first Fridays of June, July, August and September at Lions Park. Plans are for the first one to be a tie-dye event. While Family Fun Fridays would include a small fee, the idea is to get families into the parks for “a small, carefree evening in the safety of a family pod,” Weyer said.
  • Daytime programs will include a Lunch & Learn from noon to 1:30 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month at Lions Park, where participants may bring picnic lunches, learn about various topics, and enjoy a short nature walk.
  • A Bugs for Kids program is set for 10 a.m. to noon June 24 at Cranberry Creek Park, offering kids a chance to learn about bugs, and then use nets to try to catch some. Nets will be provided in limited quantities.
  • Weyer has pulled the plug on Backyard Brimfield, a video program featuring her doing nature walks that focus on matters of seasonal interest. She will be doing shorter videos on seasonal topics instead.

Brimfest is in limbo until May 19

Brimfest may or may not be back this year, but even if it is, the festival will look significantly different than it has in past years. Trustees plan to determine Brimfest’s fate at their May 19 meeting.

At a minimum, they are hoping for a two-day event with entertainment, family activities and food vendors.

“I just hate to do two years with no festival for the community,” Trustee Nic Coia said. “It’s a staple for our community. You miss things for two years, and it’s unlikely to come back.”

If Covid ramps up again, the trustees acknowledged that all bets would be off, and Brimfest could take the form of a drive-thru event, similar to the Randolph Fair Food Drive-Thru weekends.

Memorial for Sam Wilson

Trustees approved Boy Scout Troop 259’s request to place a small plaque by the pond at Restland to memorialize Eagle Scout Sam Wilson, who designed and oversaw the construction of a pond there as his Eagle Scout project. Wilson was killed at age 30 in a kayaking accident last year and is buried at Restland. Portage Monument is making the plaque, and trustees agreed to prep the foundation and bear the cost of it. Plans are to install the plaque at ground level, facing the water.

Virtual trustee meetings

Trustees were glad to learn that state permission to hold virtual meetings will extend through December, instead of expiring in June, as had been planned. Fire Chief Craig Mullaly noted that with the Covid social distancing regulations now in place, the township’s community room is so small that once the township leaders are in it, there is no room for even one member of the public.

Coia’s suggestion to install portable plexiglass barriers prompted Trustee Sue Fields to say, “I don’t want to spend dollars to save nickels.”

“We need a bigger room, that’s the problem, and we’re two years out from that,” Coia agreed.

Trustees are in the beginning stages of designing and building a new administration/fire station. However, with lumber prices skyrocketing, Mullaly said he has been hard-pressed to even create a budget.

Fire department hires

Mullaly is continuing to track the fire department’s newest candidate as he works through the onboarding process: The new firefighter should be cleared for duty by mid-May or early June.

“We need him because we’re running more calls than ever,” Mullaly said.

To further ease manpower concerns in multiple township departments, Mullaly said he is looking into partnering with Kent State to create an intern program.

“I think it’s a great idea to partner with a local university. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Coia said.

Old Forge and Mogadore intersection

Road Supervisor Dave Rufener told trustees he hopes to bring on a part-time employee to get a jump on planned projects.

He also urged residents to remember that the intersection at Old Forge and Mogadore is now a four-way stop. The change is necessary because of an ODOT and county construction project at Tallmadge Road, Mogadore Road and I-76. No word on when that will be complete.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.