PROCTORVILLE, Ohio - A $400,000 project to add a half-mile, paved walking track, two regulation size soccer fields and other improvements at Ohio University Southern's Proctorville Center could be finished by late September.

The Proctorville Center project includes 40 additional parking spaces on a graveled lot, a stormwater retention pond and other site improvements.

"In addition to opening up the possibility to offer recreation and fitness-based courses at the Proctorville Center, our hope is that the Proctorville Center Park will serve as a focal point that further brings our community together," said Stephanie Burcham, director of the center.

"We are excited about the opportunities this project presents to the community and the university as a whole," said Dr. Nichole Pennington, Ohio University Southern dean.

"The walking trail and soccer fields will provide a wonderful area for our Ohio University students," she said. "This project was made possible by state funding secured by (State) Rep. Ryan Smith and (State) Sen. Bob Peterson in addition to generous donations. We are grateful for their support."

One of those donations was from the Lawrence County Land Bank, which received $2,600.90 from Tidy-Up Lawrence County and agreed to donate that money to the park project, according to County Treasurer Steve Burcham.

Officials are seeking additional funds for a greening project, including planting trees, at the site, Burcham said.

The Proctorville Center received a $350,000 grant from the state along with another $50,000 in local contributions, said Andy Riehl, Ohio University Southern maintenance director.

Construction started in June. The contract was awarded to Stockmeister Construction of Jackson, Ohio.

Officials have been working on the project since about 2009.

"It's going to be nice," Riehl said.

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