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Activity Center Park

Community Park

Open daylight hours

Location

221 N. Main St.

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Size

21.1 Acres


About the Park

The park includes an all-access playground area with wide ramps, large swings, belt swings, infant swings, and benches that sway. Children of all abilities can play side by side on the play equipment. The sprayground is a zero depth splash pad with fun features that spray or dump water. The shelter has restrooms and picnic tables and can be reserved for groups of thirty or fewer for a fee. Funding for the playground, sprayground, and shelter included donations from the Centerville Kiwanis Club, Centerville Noon Optimist Club, Centerville-Washington Foundation and the State of Ohio NatureWorks grant program.

Features

  • All-access Playground
  • Baseball Diamonds (3)
  • Drinking Fountain (off November-March)
  • Grill at Shelter
  • Parking Lot
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Restrooms (portable in the winter)
  • Sprayground - Open 8:30 A.M. to 8:30 P.M., 7 days a week, Memorial Day weekend through early September.
  • Tennis Courts (3)

History

The Activity Center Park is a community park in the true sense of the word. Late in 1951, Sherwood Snyder, co-owner of the popular Wishing Well Restaurant in Centerville, returned from a trip through Europe. He and his wife had enjoyed the beautiful parks in each of the cities that they visited and were impressed with how much the families used and enjoyed the open space. They told their friends and neighbors that this community should acquire some land near the center of town and create their own park.

Everyone was eager and willing to support this idea and a meeting was held at the home of Jim and Ann Campbell on July 7, 1952. The groups that were represented were; Mayor Kelsey, city government, Clarence Stingley and Hadley Watts of the School System, Margaret Daily of the PTA and Centerville Child Conservation League, Ed Mahlmeister of the Adult School, Frank Arnold and Jim Campbell of the Lion's Club, Fran Puterbaugh of the Centerville Federation of the Ohio Child Conservation League, Corinne Cowden of Progressive Parents, Juanita Burkhardt of the Centerville Mother's Club, Peg Hudson of the Village Mother's Club, and Ann Campbell of the Child Study Club. Jean Brown was named chairman.

A plan was made. Sherwood Snyder negotiated the purchase of 20 acres of land on North Main Street with Lee L. Ware, a real estate man and owner of the land. Time was short, however, because he was about to develop or sell the land. Sherwood paid the fee to hold the land out of his own pocket until funds could be raised.

C.W. Magsig, a Centerville attorney, made his office available as a headquarters and he contributed his services in all legal matters. The Activity Center of Washington Township, Incorporated, a not for profit organization, was formed which permitted the purchase of the land for $24,300 on May 25, 1953.

The original trustees were Jean H. Brown, president, James J. Campbell, Morris Nielsen, Catherine Weisler, and Sherwood Snyder, Sr.

Many, many individuals donated money, time and energy to transforming the field into an attractive park and recreation center.

  • The Lion's Club donated the materials and men under guidance of George Darner and built a Scout shelter.
  • The Washington Township Baseball League raised money and built grandstands, dugouts, and three baseball diamonds.
  • The Kiwanis Club built and maintained the tennis courts.
  • The Lion's Club provided shuffleboard and horseshoe courts with lighting.
  • Boy and Girl Scouts transplanted dozens of trees and shrubs from the Campbell's backyard nursery following landscaping charts planned by Doris Butler.

Bill Yeck's wife, Dottie, was a member of the money-raising committee and became a charter member of the Activity Center. Sherwood Snyder and Bill Yeck had many conversations about parks and open space. Bill had an interest in land use and their discussions spurred him on to see how they could combine a park system and land preservation. Bill thought that the Activity Center was a great idea for the present day but would not be enough to support the kids from the neighborhoods yet to be developed. Nor would it save the beautiful forests and streams that existed in the township.

In 1972, after much deliberation, the officials of the Activity Center made the decision to turn the park over to the Centerville-Washington Park District. The other options were the City of Centerville or the Montgomery County Department of Parks and Recreations, which had been maintaining the park. The major advantage to having the Park District run the center was that they would have the continuity of interest with the other parks in the area. After looking at the Activity Center and its history, they realized that the Park District was really an extension of the facility started in 1952. Bill Yeck called the Activity Center the "keystone of the park district."

Note: History courtesy of Pat Aldrich, Centerville-Washington Township Historical Society


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Centerville-Washington Park District (Washington Township Park District), 221 N. Main Street, Centerville, Ohio 45459
HQ (937) 433-5155, FAX (937) 433-6564, Rainout (937) 433-2524, M-F Evenings & Weekends (937) 470-9246