Parks and building projects made headlines in 2008 in Orange Township.

Parks and building projects made headlines in 2008 in Orange Township.

In mid-May, a survey was mailed to all 9,354 township households to gauge residents' park and recreation interests. The township received a 12.6-percent return rate, with 1,179 households responding.

Support came in for expanding various park amenities, including the existing pool at North Orange Park.

Township trustees in December hired Meyers and Associates Architecture to design and do engineering for a $780,000 pool expansion project slated to begin in May 2009. The addition would be about 1,500 square feet and would include lap lanes for adults and teens. Construction is expected to be finished in August.

Survey results also were used to update the Orange Township parks master plan, which will go before trustees in 2009. Conducting the survey and updating the parks master plan cost the township $64,500.

In September, the township held the grand opening of its new park -- Township Hall Park -- at the southwest corner of Orange and South Old State roads.

The park includes almost a mile of bike and nature trails, a fishing pier and three pedestrian bridges. It sits on 6.5 acres donated by the Villages of Oak Creek Homeowners' Association.

The park cost $45,000 to design and $665,000 to construct. It was paid for with revenue generated from the township's park levy.

Orange Township Fire Station 362 on Old State Road underwent $249,595 of renovations, designed to create energy efficiency, economy of space and a healthy, productive work environment.

Fire Chief Tom Stewart said the township was able to benefit from the slowdown in the economy, coming in well under the estimated $400,000 for the project. The renovation was paid for with fire levy dollars.

The township also built a large storage garage behind Station 362 for the parks, fire and maintenance department to use.

-- Tom Sheehan contributed to this story.