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The fourth annual Crazy Cardboard Boat Regatta is scheduled to take place July 20 at Voice of America Park in West Chester Township.
This event, which attracts thousands of onlookers, involves participants building a cardboard boat and then racing them in the lake at VOA Park. Last year, awards were given to the best show boats, fastest boats, as well as the people’s choice, judge’s choice, best theme, best sinking, most entertaining and for the craziest boats.
To register a boat, the cost is $20 for community members and $40 for organizations.
Currently, the event is offering sponsorship opportunities to local businesses.
“Sponsorship packages are designed at various levels of support to provide businesses with a wide variety of opportunities to promote their company and products, while supporting the community they serve.” said Kelly Barkley, Community Relations Coordinator for MetroParks.
Barkley and her team are also looking for volunteers. Last year, nearly 100 helped with the event.
For sponsorship, volunteering or boat building opportunities, visit www.yourmetroparks.net or call MetroParks at 513-867-5835.
Volunteers are needed for Saturday’s work date at Liberty Township’s Dudley Memorial Park.
Parks Committee member Chuck Holliday has organized the session, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon at the park, 5700 Yankee Road.
The 11.4-acre park was established in 1990 and includes 7.5 acres of natural, mulched and bridged hiking trails in the woods around a 3,400-saquare foot pond. There is also a large, mowed lawn, play equipment, shelter, picnic tables, fishing with license, and wildlife viewing.
Volunteers are asked to wear long sleeves, gloves, safety glasses and boots or other suitable footwear. Work includes clearing some invasive plants.
Spring is the theme for Thursday’s Discovery Kids program for preschool children at Voice of America Park in West Chester Township. Children can bring along their teddy bear to the program and then wake them up from hibernation.
The nature program for preschoolers, formerly known as Lollipop, is run by MetroParks of Butler County each month.
The hour-long program is targeted to children ages 3-5 and their adult companion. Children explore nature through stories, crafts and activities.
Photo provided by the Butler County Visitors Bureau
The Butler County Visitors Bureau in conjunction with the Miami University Water Ski club and Lotta Watta announced Thursday afternoon that it has been awarded the 2013 Junior U.S. Open Water Ski Championships, which will be held June 29-30 at Voice of America Park in West Chester.
“We are excited that Butler County’s Voice of America MetroPark has been chosen to host this prestigious youth sporting event,” said Mark Hecquet, executive director of the Butler County Visitors Bureau. “Having hosted this event in 2008, we’re looking forward to welcoming USA Water Ski and their top athletes back to Butler County.”
The two-day event will feature 100 of the nation’s top junior water ski athletes under the age of 21. The competitors will compete for titles in tricks, jumping, and top overall categories.
The championship event is expected to have an estimated economic impact of $155,000.
Voice of America Park athletic complex to be the ‘envy of other communities’
WestChesterBuzz.com will count down the area’s top 12 stories of 2012 this month, concluding with West Chester’s most discussed topic of the year on Sunday, Dec. 30.
The Butler County Visitors Bureau and MetroParks of Butler County held an official ground breaking ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 for their $3 million project that will add 22 multipurpose natural grass athletic fields on 100 acres of Voice of America Park in West Chester Township.
Photo is of phase 1 of the MetroParks of Butler County’s enhancement plan for Voice of America Park. As part of that phase, there will be 22 multipurpose athletic fields (click to enlarge) at the park in West Chester.
The fields, which border Butler-Warren and Tylersville roads, are expected to be available for use by September of 2014.
Based on an economic impact study conducted by AECOM Technical Services in Chicago, the 22 multipurpose fields are projected to bring in $20 million in indirect and direct spending, 200,000 new hotel room requests and 21,000 participants annually by year five after the complex opens (2019).
“With all the amenities that surround the park, the new fields will be something that will be sought after and ultimately will be the envy of other communities that not only surround us, but are also in our region,” said Mark Hecquet, executive director at the visitors bureau.
Photo of the entire Voice of America enhancement plan. Click to enlarge.
Overall, this project is just phase 1 of a much larger enhancement plan for the biggest Butler County MetroPark. In comparison, fellow MetroParks Forest Run (almost 340 acres) and Rentschler Forest (almost 400 acres) are close in size to the 435-acre VOA Park. Meanwhile, in Hamilton County, Whitewater Forest with 4,345 acres and Winton Woods with 2,555 acres are significantly larger.
Other improvements that are to be incrementally added over time include the addition of softball and baseball diamonds, as well as an amphitheater and expansion to its dog park.
Park officials are also already considering changing the growing grass fields to artificial turf, which will lower maintenance cost, decrease rainouts and allow for longer sports seasons.
Currently, MetroParks is looking for other organizations or businesses to collaborate to help provide funding for the other phases.
The park has already become a destination for larger scale sporting events. Just this past August, the VOA Park hosted the USA Triathlon Youth Junior National Championships and the WWA Wakeboard National Championships.
MetroParks motor vehicle permit hang tags will again be available free to all Butler County residents beginning Dec. 15. MetroParks began giving free permits to county residents after narrowly passing a levy in November of 2010.
According to a release from the park system, MetroParks of Butler County will be issuing hang tags that are valid for two years versus the current one-year tag due to suggestions from park customers for increased convenience.
New hang tags will be valid for the 2013 and 2014 calendar years.
Current 2012 hang tags will be honored at all MetroParks through Jan. 31.
This policy change was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners during their regularly scheduled Board Meeting on Oct. 17.
To obtain a free hang tag, residents must provide proof of residency and fill out a form, available on MetroParks website, www.YourMetroParks.net, under “Get a Vehicle Permit” or at all permit distribution locations.
A valid driver’s license, state ID, vehicle registration or license plate will be accepted as proof of residency. One permit is permitted per Butler County resident.
Butler County resident hang tags are available at the following locations:
Butler County Visitor’s Bureau
8756 Union Centre Boulevard
West Chester, OH 45069
Hours: 8:30am-4:30pm (M-F) Hours vary
Fairfield Community Arts Center
411 Wessel Drive
Fairfield, OH 45014
Hours: 8am-8pm (M-F) and 9am-1pm (Sat)
Beginning Dec. 15: Entrance booths at Sebald Park, Voice of America MetroPark and Rentschler Forest MetroPark (Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
After March 2013: The Baitshop at Voice of America MetroPark
Non-Residents can still access all parks and support MetroParks by purchasing an annual permit for $10 or $5 for a daily permit.
Hang tags for non-residents can be purchased online or at MetroParks Administrative Headquarters, Voice of America MetroPark Baitshop, as well as Sebald Park, Voice of America MetroPark or Rentschler Forest MetroPark park entrance locations when staffed.
Last year, Butler Count residents, who received an annual hang tag in 2011, were asked to hold on to their tags for the new year. Upon completion of a form and proof of residency, they received an orange sticker to be placed on top of the old permit to update their tag.
Liberty Township’s Dudley Woods is the site of the Nov. 10 Walks on the Wild Side program offered by MetroParks of Butler County.
Join an outdoor educator in the park’s parking lot, 5591 Hankins Road, at 10 a.m. for an hour-long walk through the park. Learn how nature prepares for winter and maybe a few tips for your home and family.
The last walk for 2012 will be at 10 a.m., Dec. 8, at the Voice of America Park in West Chester Township. There, participants will learn about and scout for owls.
There is no cost for the walk but vehicle permits are needed and can be purchased at the park’s entrance. There is no cost for the permits for Butler County residents with proof of residence.
A one-day permit is $5 for non-residents or $10 for an annual hangtag.
John Ford will perform at the final Concerts by the Lake this Sunday at Voice of America Park in West Chester. File photo.
John Ford will headline the fifth and final performance of the 2012 Concerts by the Lake music series from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Voice of America Park in West Chester.
Park visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket. Light snacks, drinks and adult beverages will be available.
In the event of rain, the concert will be held inside the Ronald Reagan Lodge.
Admission is free, but a motor vehicle permit is required to enter the park. Annual hangtags are free to Butler County residents who bring proof of residency. Non-residents can purchase a $10 hangtag or $5 single day permit.
To let West Chester and Liberty Township residents catch up with the news that they need to know, WestChesterBuzz.com will list and link to all of last week’s top local stories every Monday.
MetroParks breaks ground on VOA athletic complex – The Butler County Visitors Bureau and MetroParks of Butler County held an official ground breaking ceremony last Wednesday for their $3 million project that will add 22 multipurpose natural grass athletic fields on 100 acres of Voice of America Park in West Chester Township. The fields, which border Butler-Warren and Tylersville roads, are expected to be available for use by September of 2014.
Lakota Local Schools maintains rating – Michael D. Clark reported on the annual Ohio Report Cards – Southwest Ohio’s second-largest school system maintained its top state ranking while the area’s longest financially embattled district finally dropped a category, according to the annual Ohio Report Cards, released last Wednesday. Butler County’s Lakota Schools earned an Excellent with Distinction rating despite historically deep budget cuts in recent years.
BAE to sell commercial armored vehicles business – In a $10 million deal, defense contractor BAE Systems announced it is selling off its locally based commercial armored vehicles business that employs 134 workers, Alexander Coolidge of The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last Tuesday.
Zoning Commission approves ‘high end’ apartments in West Chester – Last week, the West Chester Zoning Commission approved two proposed apartment developments that could possibly feature rents greater than $1,200 per month. One of those developments, currently called The Cascades, will have its zoning change go before the West Chester Township Board of Trustees on Nov. 13.
White House Inn becomes Casa Bianca – The owner of Symmes Tavern in Fairfield has bought the venerable White House Inn in West Chester and has turned it into an Italian restaurant, Polly Campbell of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week. The name is simply a translation: Casa Bianca. The restaurant will have traditional Italian and traditional American on the menu.
Colerain defeats Lakota West in battle of unbeatens – In a battle of the top two teams in The Cincinnati Enquirer coaches’ poll, senior quarterback Alfred “L.A.” Ramsby carried Colerain from an early 17-0 deficit to a 57-44 win against Lakota West at Cardinal Stadium on a wet and chilly night in Colerain Township.
Supreme Court OK’s Ohio early voting – The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Ohioans to cast early in-person absentee ballots on the final three days before the Nov. 6 election, Barry M. Horstman of The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last Tuesday.
Bridge replacement on Rialto Road is complete – The Butler County Engineer’s Office announced last Tuesday that Rialto Road in West Chester Township is now open. A portion of the road had been closed since early July as the Rialto Road bridge over Mill Creek was replaced.
Lakota teen’s been to Barrackville and Romney – Matthew King, a 17-year-old Lakota East High school senior, recently created a Youtube Video highlighting two small towns in America, that just so happened to be named Romney and Barrackville. In the video, King talks to people on the street, through car windows, and people putting groceries in their cars about their views on the towns name, asking questions with only slight political implications.
Phoenix will phase out West Chester, Florence campuses – The University of Phoenix will phase out classes in West Chester and Florence, impacting 236 students, Cliff Peale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week. The sites have stopped accepting applications, and current students will have the choice of finishing their programs in traditional classrooms or converting to online classes.