MIDDLEPORT — Ferman Moore Park, located behind Middleport Village Hall, is continuing to evolve and improve thanks to funds provided by Healthy Communities.
The fund comes from the Ohio Department of Health and is administered by the Meigs County Health Department.
“(Healthy Communities does) this because they want to get people out and exercising, taking advantage of healthy opportunities,” Middleport Mayor Michael Gerlach said. “Meigs County has bad (health) numbers, and Middleport is part of that — diabetes, heart disease, lung problems — so our thought is to try to come up with a healthy community.
“Why do we have to have high numbers? We need something to start improving those numbers, including fresh air and exercise, and in the end have a whole lot of stuff geared for that. We’re trying to fix up all our parks to have exercise opportunities, to have chances to be outside with your family or by yourself, to just have a safe place to just get out and move. We’ve gone a long way towards that.”
According to Gerlach, the newest addition to this park is the blacktop walkway that now goes around the playground equipment. Gerlach said this newest addition will benefit both children and adults who frequent the park, as parents will be guardians of children at the park will be able to walk along this trail while simultaneously keeping an eye on the little ones.
Other additions and improvements at Ferman Moore Park include new timber and gravel that surrounds the playground equipment, new water fountains along with new playground equipment and benches. They are set to put a circular bench around a tree near the walking path that will allow those who wish to sit to keep an eye on children to do so. The basketball courts have been resurfaced, and there are new nets, backboards and rims. There are new trash cans at the park, too.
Gerlach also talked about the other five other parks within Middleport. Legion Park and Farmers Bank Park are two of the smaller parks within the city and Dave Diles Park is one of the larger parks located near the Ohio River. Marina Park is also close to the river and has the Leading Creek Water Trail and Underground Railroad Trail. Improvements are also being made to Hartinger Park, thanks to a revitalization grant through the Meigs County Commissioners. The pool is set to be replaced with playground equipment and a skate park. Eventually, the tennis courts and basketball courts will be usable again.
A multi-purpose trail, thanks to the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Meigs County Commissioners and myriad local businesses and private donors, is currently still in the works. Gerlach said that ODOT recently found a flaw in the park’s design and have been working to correct it. The trail is set to be complete in November, Gerlach said.
“We’re talking about quality of life, not just a healthy life,” Gerlach said. “We’re trying to give the town a quality of life. If you live here, there are some things to take advantage of — nice things people like to have, like parks and being able to get out and do things — and we’re trying to build on that quality of life overall, and trying to make it healthy.”
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.