Countryside Park Revitalization Project

Countryside Park Revitalization Project
Posted on 05/04/2022

Progress and Planning in 2023: Summer Update

The design phase for Turtle and Heron ponds is currently underway. The two ponds are connected and since one project informs the other, in terms of efficiency and systemic interaction, it is important to complete the designs simultaneously.

The Township continues to raise funds; most recently receiving $20,000 from the Centerville Noon Optimists to put toward the accessible fishing pier on Turtle Pond. An additional $120,000 grant has also been applied for from Montgomery County. Finally, the Township has applied for a $389,000 grant from the Clean Ohio Fund for Heron Pond with the goal of completing the Turtle and Heron Ponds conjointly.

The majority of the work on Turtle Pond will be completed in the winter months, as this is an ideal time for the proposed dredging. 

In 2022, Washington Township elected officials voted to fund a park master plan that would more thoughtfully approach the park as a whole, instead of each pond individually. This ensures that the pond improvements will be in a position to succeed for the community with the additional amenities, access, and continuity that are required to fully utilize these resources.

Over the past year, Washington Township partnered with the Centerville-Washington Park District to develop a 9-element NPS-IS plan, or non-point source implementation strategy, for the entire Holes Creek Watershed that will further impact the projects occurring in Countryside Park. This plan should be completed by the end of 2023 and, in addition to addressing the watershed, it will help unlock additional funding opportunities for the Heron Pond project.

Countryside Park Revitalization: The Initial Update

The revitalization of Countryside Park is a priority for the Washington Township RecPlex. The project will be completed in two phases and both phases, when completed, will represent a total investment of nearly $590,000 in restoring aquatic habits in all three ponds located within Countryside Park, controlling erosion and enhancing access to fishing, kayaking, and other water-based activities in the park. Both projects will be incorporated into the Countryside Park Site Master Plan, which will be completed in 2022. This investment represents a concerted effort by the Township to be strong stewards of Tom Stolz's gift to the community so that his generosity can be enjoyed by generations to come.

Phase One: Bass Lake Revitalization & Water Access Project

In partnership with the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the RecPlex will be working to revitalize and restore the Bass Lake observation deck, dock, and outbuildings. Over the years, these structures have deteriorated and are not fully accessible. Additionally, the area is serviced by a single port-a-let instead of permanent public facilities. Goals for the project include: 

  • Ensuring and expanding safety, access, and comfort for all patrons
  • Protecting the lake
  • Meeting the needs of the community

The existing wood observation deck, dock, and adjoining outbuildings would be replaced by two kayak launches, one of which will be fully ADA accessible. These launches increase access and simplify water entry.

 kayak launch  kayak launch

A boathouse will be installed to serve as a basis of programming and rentals as well as storage for water-based sports and fishing activities. Additionally, an ADA accessible Green Flush vault toilet building will be installed with running water and exterior and interior lighting.


The RecPlex has been awarded $125,693 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for this project, with a requirement for the Township to march 50%. LWCF is a federal program administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the RecPlex has previously used funds from LWCF to help develop the existing Butterfly Playgrounds in Countryside Park. In the Needs Assessment Survey conducted through the 2021 Strategic Plan, the community identified expanded access to water sports and fishing amenities as one of their top needs. This project will allow the RecPlex to meet those needs while also maintaining a healthy habitat for aquatic species, wildlife, and human interaction. 

The RecPlex has also been awarded the $10,000 Community Impact grant from the Centerville-Washington Foundation for this project and is incredibly grateful for the support of the community in maintaining and improving the natural habitats and landscape within Washington Township. 

Phase Two: Turtle and Heron Ponds Revitalization and Mitigation 

The Washington Township RecPlex has been awarded a grant from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund for the second phase of the revitalization project in Countryside Park. This phase of the project will address the declining water quality and aquatic life in both Turtle and Heron ponds as well as the expressed interest by residents for more water-based recreational activities and facilities.

The velocity of uncontrolled water runoff from annual storms has led to the extensive siltation of Turtle Pond and substantial erosion along the channel connecting Turtle and Heron ponds. The plan is to restore Turtle Pond, limit future siltation and erosion, and increase accessibility and recreational use of the ponds by persons of all abilities. Project components include: 

  • Dredging Turtle Pond to remove silt and sediment
  • Installing a forebay basin and controlled outlet structure for Turtle Pond to reduce siltation
  • Stabilizing the banks leading into and around Heron Pond with natural materials to control erosion

This grant is in the amount of $253,141 and will cover 75% of the anticipated cost of the second phase of the project, ensuring that the RecPlex and the Township at large continue to be good financial stewards of taxpayer funds by continuously looking for ways to offset the costs of projects through grant funding.