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Grant helps build new restroom at Bath Nature Preserve

Brown outdoor restroom exterior
The new restroom at Bath Nature Preserve is centrally located to serve more guests.

During its first cycle of grants in 2016, Bath Community Fund awarded $14,500 to five local nonprofits to support a wide range of community projects.

One of the largest grants went to the Bath Park Board for the construction of an additional restroom at the Bath Nature Preserve.

Bath Township is home to four diverse parks totaling more than 487 acres: Bath Community Park, Bath Baseball Park, Bath Hills Park and the Bath Nature Preserve. During 2017, those parks welcomed an estimated 80,000 visitors and hosted 1,108 scheduled events ranging from school sporting competitions and outdoor educational programs to meetings of local organizations, picnics and community festivals.

Previously in the Nature Preserve, the only public restroom was situated at the trailhead, a fair distance from Bath Pond, the Regal Beagle and the University of Akron Field Station, where many community activities take place. Bath's park levy covers maintenance and operations expenses but does not provide for capital improvements, so members of the park board decided to raise $20,000+ to build an additional restroom that would be more centrally located in the Nature Preserve.

Seeing an opportunity to improve the Nature Preserve for current and future generations of residents, members of Bath Community Fund's Grant Committee awarded a $5,000 grant for the project in November 2016. That funding, combined with proceeds from the Annual 8k Steeplechase and Fun Run, as well as donations from other community groups and individuals who use the parks, allowed the park board to meet its goal one year later.

"We are so grateful for the $5,000 grant from Bath Community Fund that took us over the top and made it possible to pay for and install the restroom ahead of schedule in 2017," said former Bath Park Board President Kathy Sidaway. "There is no doubt that this gift meets the goal of the Bath Community Fund, which is to enrich the community and improve residents' qualify of life."

Frog-shaped oven
A grant to Crown Point Ecology Center helped the organization build a natural cob oven.

A second $5,000 grant last year supported the creation of a cob oven at Crown Point Ecology Center. The environmentally friendly oven, made in the shape of a frog, was constructed out of natural materials like mud, sand, water and straw. It can be used to bake pizza and bread and will be available for weddings, graduation parties and other community events held at Crown Point in the coming years.

"Building with cob is both a historic and an environmentally sustainable practice," said Monica Bongue, Crown Point's executive director. "The cob oven will serve as an invitation to the Bath community to learn more about this sustainable building technique, to experience the ancient practice of cooking in a cob oven, and to experience the lovely natural surroundings of Crown Point."

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