Even though Busey Road Park in Canal Winchester has been open to the public for months, there has been nothing to mark its existence until the installation of the double-faced, sand-blasted sign on Nov. 20.
The sign, purchased by Violet Township for $4,084, now provides tangible evidence the 32-acre park on the south side of Busey Road is officially open for business.
The Violet Township Trustees unanimously approved the purchase of the sign by resolution July 18.
It was manufactured by Signs Unlimited, which also produced the current sign at the Violet Township Community Building.
Violet Township Administrator Bill Yaple said the new Busey Road Park sign is just another step toward making the park a viable recreational option for area residents. He also expects to see an increase in visitors.
"I would say it will begin to change things," Yaple said.
"Now (people) will know there is a park there.
"I'm sure a lot of people in (Pickerington) and the township don't know it's a park," said Yaple.
Violet Township purchased the land for the park with the help of a $170,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 2008 and soon after a local Boy Scout named David Hobson added improvements as part of his Eagle Scout project.
Hobson built five benches and spread wood chips for a walking trail in the 10-acre wooded section of the park.
Yaple said the township currently lacks additional funding to complete any more infrastructure projects, but expressed confidence ODNR will ultimately approve a grant application submitted last February for $23,000. If it is approved, it will be used to pave the trails.
"(ODNR) keeps telling me we're going to get the money because we're the only (applicant)," Yaple said.
"They should have awarded it for summer construction but that hasn't happened," he said, adding he anticipates a decision on the grant will be made "sometime in February of 2013, then we'll know whether we got the money."
"Then we'll advertise for bids and begin the work," he said.
Yaple said there are no plans, however, to pave the gravel access road or the parking lot.
"We haven't decided whether that will be done," he said. "It was not in the (ODNR grant) plans, it would have been too expensive to do in the grant."
Yaple said Violet Township will apply for another ODNR grant in February or March 2013 to obtain funding for the reconstruction and installation of two early 19th-century log cabins, which would be placed in the park and used educationally as a means to depict Violet Township pioneer life.
"That's the long-term plan," he said.
"We think one of the cabins was the first ever built in (Violet) Township.
"It came from the corner of Busey and Diley Roads when (Pickerington) widened Diley Road," Yaple said.
He said the other cabin, which was salvaged from a property on Carroll Northern Road, was built in 1807.
Yaple said both cabins remain disassembled in storage, one in the township's service building off Pickerington Road and the other in a barn on Hill Road.
Busey Road Park has 18 acres of open green space.
Yaple said another five acres in the northwest corner of the site are designated for the Violet Township Fire Department should the need arise to build a fourth fire station.
Yaple said the old-growth trees in Busey Road Park will require stewardship for continued preservation.
"If you walk that woods you can see they never logged it. The trees in there are very old. Our intentions are to keep it that way."