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Bath celebrates grand opening of new picnic shelter, observatory

Outdoor pavilion
The new picnic shelter at Bath Community Park was built to commemorate Bath Township's bicentennial. Photo courtesy of Elaina Goodrich.

Bath's bicentennial year has been marked by exciting projects and celebrations that enrich the quality of life of every resident.

From the township's trio of bicentennial events to the construction of new park and nature facilities, many of these projects were supported by grants from Bath Community Fund.

In July, the Bath Park Board announced it had officially completed construction of a second picnic shelter at Bath Community Park. Bath Community Fund awarded a $3,000 grant to the park board last year to build the new shelter, which commemorates Bath Township's bicentennial. The picnic shelter is located between the football and upper soccer fields and includes picnic tables, a grill, trash receptacles and a bike rack.

"This shelter will provide a place where young people, adults and families can gather, play and eat," said Ryan Arth, president of the Bath Park Board. "It will not only commemorate the bicentennial in 2018, but it will also provide a facility that can be used for the next 100 years."

Group of people near telescope
The Bath trustees were on hand for the Fairlawn Rotary Observatory dedication in June. Pictured from left to right are Trustee Becky Corbett, John Shulan, Trustee Elaina Goodrich and Trustee Jim Nelson. Bath Township is leasing the site in the Bath Nature Preserve to observatory personnel for $1 annually.

Earlier this summer, the Summit County Astronomy Club hosted a grand opening for its new observatory in the Bath Nature Preserve. Supported in part by a grant from Bath Community Fund, the 16-by-24-foot building has a retractable roof and five permanently mounted telescopes on adjustable piers, making this one of the only fully handicapped-accessible observatories in Northeast Ohio.

The June 10 dedication event drew a substantial crowd, ranging in age from kids to seniors. One grandmother shared that she had brought her 10-year-old grandson to a star-gazing event at the Bath Nature Preserve last summer. Ever since, her grandson has been fascinated with the skies and the universe - exactly what Summit County Astronomy Club founder John Shulan hoped would happen through his passion project.

"This is a hobby of mine, and for other adults, it's fun and recreational," Shulan said. "But I know the impact observatories have on youth -- to get them curious and expand their horizons and education."

Nature path
A grant to Bath Township supported the completion of the trail at the Heritage Corridors of Bath Wayside Exhibit. Photo courtesy of Hannah Krumheuer.

Another recent grant from Bath Community Fund supported the second phase of the Heritage Corridors of Bath Wayside Exhibit, which completed the trail that leads visitors around the picturesque property, adding landscaping with native flowers and wildflower beds. In alignment with Bath Community Fund's mission, the project aims to "preserve and enhance the rural character, scenic beauty and historic legacy of the Heritage Corridors for future generations."

Preserving the history and legacy of Bath was also a key element of the township's "Celebrate the Past" event at Hale Farm & Village in February. The event commemorated the community's rich and storied history with free activities for all ages, including interactions with township residents from the 1800s, s'mores and stories around the fire, and displays showing Hale Farm's 60-year history.

The event, which was supported in part by a grant from Bath Community Fund, was the first in a series of three bicentennial celebrations planned for 2018. The final celebration, including the Bicentennial Gala, will take place the weekend of Nov. 30 and will celebrate Bath's future - a future that will undoubtedly be brighter with the legacy created by Bath Community Fund.

Young female runners pose for team photo
A grant to Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio is supporting this running-based youth development program for girls in the Bath community.

Finally, Bath Community Fund advisory board members had the opportunity in May to participate in a Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio 5k event. More than 2,500 girls, coaches, parents and friends ran the final race of the spring season, starting and ending at The University of Akron's InfoCision stadium.

Bath Community Fund granted $1,000 to Girls on the Run in 2017 to support this running-based youth development program that combines physical activity with discussions about self-confidence, bullying and healthy relationships.

BCF Advisory Board members Jody Miller Konstand and Kathy Sidaway were able to see the girls' proud faces firsthand as they handed out medals at the finish line. "It was an amazing program and one very gratifying morning," Jody said.

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