Park improvements outlined at Bath State of the Parks

by Emily Canning-Dean

Officials from Bath Township and the Bath Park Board recently gathered to give an informative presentation on the state of the parks within the township.

The event took place May 16 at the University of Akron Field Station in the Bath Nature Preserve.

Bath Trustee Elaina Goodrich gave a review of the history of the township’s parks, then Caine Collins, the township’s service director and interim park director, shared some of the park projects that were completed in 2023, as well as some of the endeavors planned for this year.

“One of the major improvements we tackled in 2023 was the rental house at 1581 Hickory Farm Lane,” Collins said. “We put on a new roof and did waterproofing on the foundation as well as a new septic system. Inside we renovated the restroom and installed new floors.”

At the township’s North Fork Preserve, workers made improvements to the main driveway and also constructed an auxiliary access drive from the driveway and around the barn to better access the trail network. Other work included a half-mile section of improvements on the Triple Loop Trail.

Collins said there are plans to make more improvements to the Triple Loop Trail, including developing half a mile of a more primitive trail extending farther east on the trail network.

Improvements also took place on two structures at the 4400 Everett Rd. property.

“We did exterior repairs to the barn on the property where there was a lot of deteriorating wood and put on a coat of paint. We also replaced the barn doors and windows and removed the second story loft inside that had become unstable,” Collins said. “At the adjacent house we put on a new roof, gutters and downspouts and did asbestos and mold remediation.

The township is in the planning stages of renovating the community building at North Fork. “We hope to put that out for bid and start construction later this year,” said Collins.

At the Bath Baseball Park, there was an exterior restoration of the shelter and concession stand and a new storage building was constructed on the property.

“We also spent some significant time upgrading drainage on the site,” he said.

Collins said the department also upgraded the software used to schedule baseball and grass field use. The software also allows the public to reserve shelters directly online.

Collins said there are plans this year to pave the access drive at the Bath Nature Preserve from the Ira Road entrance to the University of Akron Field Station.

“That work should begin early this summer,” he said.

He also mentioned the considerable beaver colony at the nature preserve, which has caused the elevation of the west side of the pond. He said the plan is to allow the beavers to continue their activities but to make some modifications.

“There is about an 800-foot length of trail that we will raise by a foot to a foot-and-a-half,” he said. “There is an existing foot bridge that we will replace with a series of culverts.”

At Bath Community Park, there are plans to make upgrades to the pickleball and tennis courts by making base repairs to the existing surface and adding a new layer of asphalt. Collins said he expects this work will happen later in the season. There are also plans to improve the surface of the Story Walk Trail and replace the football scoreboard. 

At Bath Hill Park, Collins said there are plans to build a shelter on the west portion of the property and add a new set of swings in the park next to the existing playground.

“The swings are on order and are a couple of months out,” he said. ∞