Park district gears up projects

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — The O.O. McIntyre Park District Office is gearing for spring and the coming summer with programs and new faces on staff.

Craig Sanders recently took over as recreation director for Mark Danner who had served around 30 years with the park district.

“I worked with him for around a month before he retired,” said Sanders. “He was a big help to us here. For me, the very first project we started working on was spring soccer. One of the things we wanted to do was promote a bit differently than we have in the past and have used social media. We were able to gain some good numbers.”

Around 220 players have joined county soccer efforts resulting in 20 teams and four leagues. The district has fall and spring leagues for soccer.

Games are played at O.O. McIntyre Park near Patriot. The northern part of the park is bordered by Ohio 141 and on the southern part by Ohio 775.

There are also separate adult co-ed and ladies volleyball leagues played in winter as part of park district office efforts. Locations of games are currently being discussed but have previously been held in the Elizabeth Chapel gymnasium.

Multiple softball leagues are hosted in the park, the big one being a church league, said Sanders. The leagues are separate from sport efforts organized by the park office.

“Our goal is to grow those activities and things we do out there and be able to bring different groups of people in to be part of our park,” said Sanders. “We want the park to be a destination. From the shelter perspective, there are family reunions like every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and they are booking up. Those are special and something we want to do more of.”

A cross country meet will reportedly be held in the future at the park as well for area schools in the form of an invitational. The event is tentatively set for September.

“One thing we are doing is getting ready to pave the bike trail from Mill Creek to Farm Road, so that section will be complete,” said Park Director Paul Covey. “It’s about a mile and I believe makes the entire paved trail between seven and eight miles.”

The trail starts near Jackson Pike and ends near Burnett Road in Gallipolis. Financial support is anticipated to come through the state’s capital funding bill.

“(State Representative) Ryan Smith really helped us with that,” said Covey.

Dave Wilson serves as the park’s maintenance supervisor and Lilian Rodgers serves as the district office’s administrative assistant.

Reportedly, it’s not uncommon for school volunteers to help the park district with landscaping.

“It’s exciting from that perspective to give those students an opportunity to see another thing in our community that they might not know,” said Sanders.

There are roughly 700 acres at O.O. McIntyre Park and around 100 of those are considered developed. The rest is wild with trails, said Covey. The park district office is also responsible for the walking and bike trail around Gallipolis. The O.O. McIntyre Park District Office is considered a county entity and does not oversee Gallipolis City Park or Haskins Park.

New events are still being considered for the park. More information can be found at the O.O. McIntyre Park Facebook page.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright