MARY VIRGINIA CRITES-HANNAN
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Actual article copied from the COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The city bought about 74 acres off Rt. 188 and Pontius Road more than a decade ago but never could afford to improve the land.
The Pickaway County Community Foundation put together about $1.8 million and construction began earlier this month. Coordinators hope to collect the other $2 million through donations. A $200,000 playground is scheduled to be installed by October; the rest of the park eventually will include a dog park and an indoor shelter.
Carley Derexson, 8, lit up at the idea of a new park in Circleville.
"I think we just need a change for Circleville. It's just too old-fashioned," Carley said.
The new park will be named Mary Virginia Crites Hannan Park after the woman who died in 2006 and left $600,000 in her estate for the park. Her attorney, Bob Huffer, said Hannan inherited money from her family's farm and had a large interest in animals.
"It was going to take something like her bequest to get it kicked off," Huffer said. "As a memorial to her family and to her, we decided to leave the money to the city if it would bear her name."
The city and county also received $700,000 from the Kellogg Foundation and $450,000 from the state capital bill, said Ralph Starkey, who is coordinating the project.
Jail inmates from Lancaster cut mile-long trails through 22 acres of woods, and now bulldozers are smoothing the ground for future wetlands. Starkey said most of the four existing parks serve only Little League, so he planned to include more handicapped-accessible and nonsport features in the new park.
"Kids have what I call a 'nature deficit disorder,' " Starkey said. "Even though we have Little League programs, we have a lot of kids who are obese. They're divorced from the open environment."
Circleville Councilman Tom Klitzka said the park will be important for attracting new businesses to the city of about 13,000.
"Having this as a crown jewel certainly won't hurt,"
Klitzka said. "It's been a dream that's finally coming to fruition."
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