For Prairie Township’s fire and recreation departments, 2019 will bring with it the purchase of new equipment and a focus on youth programming, respectively.

Work on selecting fire department equipment is already underway, although a shiny new engine and medic likely won’t be rolling in Prairie Township until 2020, according to fire Chief Chris Snyder.

Snyder said the township plans to buy a new fire engine and a new medic unit this year; the medic is expected to be ordered first. A committee of firefighters and township officials has been weighing options like the type of chassis to choose for the vehicles and what kind of advanced technology to install in them, he said.

The entire process is expected to take about nine months for the medic and more than a year for the engine, meaning the vehicles likely won’t be put into service until 2020, said Scott Allen, assistant fire chief.

“It gets customized to a certain amount,” Allen said. “For the most part, every truck is built to order. We buy medics a lot more often than we buy fire trucks, so the technology differences between two fire trucks are more severe – we could be looking at an entirely different vehicle than what we have now.”

It’s expected to cost about $650,000 for the new fire truck and another $300,000 for the ambulance. The purchase will allow Prairie Township to phase out a 23-year old fire truck and put another truck that is nearly a decade old into backup service, Snyder said.

It’s part of keeping a promise made to voters in May 2018, he said, when a 3.61-mill fire levy was approved. The levy is expected to cost homeowners about $126.35 per every $100,000 in home value.

Collecting revenue from the permanent levy is expected to generate an additional $1.1 million for the department. Part of the campaign promise was using that extra money to help plan for long-range capital improvements.

Recreation department

The grass is growing on 10 fields that soon will host youth sports games.

The township expects to open the first phase of a 111-acre sports complex at 1503 Galloway Road this fall, but recreation department director James Gant said he hopes to open the pedestrian trail at the site this spring.

In addition to the sports complex, youth programming and increasing enrollment will be a focus for the recreation department in 2019, Gant said.

The township plans to hire a new recreation supervisor and Gant said he expects that person to focus on programs for the community center’s younger users.

“We’ve seen steady growth in our swim and fitness programs,” he said. “We’re going to have a big focus on youth programming.”

Gant hopes to build off an award-winning program that the community center hosted last spring – Girls Build, which won a 2018 first-place award from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association. The one-day program is aimed at girls ages 6-12, who worked with women from the construction industry to learn about careers and build birdhouses with the help of female carpenters.

“This spring we’re hoping to make it a four-week program, and hopefully have a different trade each week and get a little dirty,” Gant said.