Jackson ordinance would set fees for park sponsorship

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JACKSON – Township Council members have introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, establish fees for a park sponsorship and commemorative bench program in Jackson. A public hearing and possible vote on the ordinance is scheduled for July 14.

In 2019, the council adopted an ordinance that established a fund for such sponsorships. Municipal officials told the Tri-Town News this week there is currently no money in the fund.

The ordinance that is scheduled for action on July 14 will establish the cost of the sponsorships and commemorative benches so money can be placed in the fund that was established in 2019.

Individuals and entities may sponsor township-owned parks or playgrounds for an initial sponsorship of two years, with subsequent annual sponsorships. A sign at the park or playground will identify the sponsor.

Donated funds would be used to maintain parks and playground equipment, recreational sports facilities services, benches, picnic tables and equipment, according to the ordinance.

Donations will not be credited toward local, county or any other property tax, but the account will provide for donations that are income tax deductible for the sponsors.

The ordinance scheduled for action on July 14 defines a park sponsorship as an annual donation for an entire park or a section of a park. Sponsorships may be for playground areas, dog parks, snack stands, pavilions, walking trails, sports fields and courts.

A bench sponsorship will include a commemorative plaque on the bench. The fee to dedicate each new bench will be $1,100, plus the cost of the bench.

The fee to sponsor an entire park for the first time and have a large sign placed at the main entrance for two years will be $5,000. The fee for each subsequent year will be $2,500.

The fee to sponsor a dog park or a playground park for the first time and have a sign placed at the entrance of the park for two years will be $2,500. The fee for each subsequent year will be $1,250.

The fee to sponsor a sports field, sports court or trail and have a sign placed at the entrance for two years will be $1,500. The fee for each subsequent year will be $750.

All fees will be paid to the Jackson Township Parks and Playgrounds Fund, according to the ordinance.

Council Vice President Andrew Kern said officials have improved some parks using municipal funds.

“The playground at Flair is new, the basketball court at Flair has been repaved … at Camp Joy there is a new jungle gym and swings, and new pavement on the basketball court,” Kern said.

He said Harfield Park and the park at the Jackson Justice Complex also received new jungle gyms.

“Now we are rehabbing all the practice fields; three at Camp Joy and three at Johnson Park. The administration is working to set up the infield soil to make them better. There is tremendous progress throughout town,” Kern said.

Playgrounds reopened to the public on July 6 after having been closed during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.