Orion could use splash pad, dog park, resident says

Mindy Carls
Orion O

A splash pad and dog park would be welcome additions to Orion, resident Jenny Eckhardt told village board members on Monday, Aug. 2.

Eckhardt grew up in Orion, moved away for a while and returned seven years ago. She said not much had changed while she was gone, and asked the board about long-range plans for Love and Central parks.

She noted Orion children used to ride a bus to Hillcrest Resort to swim, and they is could bowl at Meadow Lanes. Today’s children don’t have those opportunities.

Trustee Bob Mitton said the village has basketball, tennis and pickleball courts, a youth football field and playground equipment.

Eckhardt acknowledged that, but asked the board to consider what residents want to do now.

Village President Jim Cooper said his number one concern is lack of space.

Eckhardt said a splash pad and a dog park would fit in Love Park. Noting recent complaints about dogs, she said a dog park would give owners a chance to socialize their dogs.

Trustee Mike Dunlap said the village purchased land to expand Love Park and has not decided on how to use all of it.

Smaller towns have splash pads, Eckhardt said. Water comes from the village supply and drains into the sewer system. There are no lifeguards.

Grants could help fund the projects, Eckhardt said, but Cooper told her Orion does not qualify for grants because of the small number of low- to moderate-income families.

Mitton said the village has to consider the costs of insurance and upkeep.

Eckhardt knows people who would be willing to help her raise money for the splash pad and dog parks.

In other business

• Trustee Steve Newman reported a car was stolen July 27. Residents should lock their cars and garages, and report any suspicious activity to police.

• Trustee Neal Nelson said workers are testing the stability of the base before applying asphalt on Seventh Street. Most of the concrete sidewalks and curb and gutter have been installed.

• Nelson said crosswalk signs have been installed at C.R. Hanna Elementary School and Orion Middle School, and solar power to light them will be added soon.

• New foul poles and scoreboards are being installed on the small diamonds at Love Park, Nelson said. Orion Little League is donating the scoreboards.

• Decorative lights along Fourth Street in front of Central Park and village hall should be in place before Orion Fall Festival, Nelson said.

• Board members approved street closures requested by Main Street Orion for the Cruise In to Orion from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7. The 1200 block of Fifth Street will be closed for a car show and the 400 block of 13th Avenue for the use of The Tailfins band.

• Cooper said he and Trustee Mel Drucker will be interviewing a man for the vacant trustee position and hope to present him for board approval at the Monday, Aug. 16, meeting.

• The board approved the route in southeast Orion for Orion Lions Club’s Bike/Hike4 Sight during Orion Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept. 4. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at the picnic shelter in Love Park.

• Cooper encouraged Orion area residents to attend Orion Fall Festival over Labor Day weekend.