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Township ready for busy summer

March 28, 2013
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Many Austintown residents are anxiously awaiting the final snow of the season and what will be a gala spring, summer and fall with plenty to do.

One new weekly event to take place this summer will be a car show. The Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club has agreed to move its weekly car cruise to the Austintown Senior Center. Mark Cole, who will be this year's Austintown Rotary president, helped arrange it.

"I am sponsoring the car show along with several other businesses in the

local area," Cole said. "I heard the Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club was moving [their cruise] and I called them up, joined their club, and then convinced them to come to the senior center."

Cole made a promise to the car club that he would help them raise $2,000-plus to bring their show here so they could donate it to the Hospice House of the Valley."

He said already the club has had a positive effect on the Senior Center. Ten members from the car club have joined the center. He said the cruises will also attract classic and custom car enthusiasts from all over the area.

"My goal is to get several hundred more members for our senior center," Cole said.

The first cruise is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18. All proceeds from the first cruise will go directly to the Senior Center. After the initial cruise, the fun will continue every Tuesday night from May 21 into the fall from 6 to 9 p.m.

Cole also plans to set up a Rotary tent at the cruises to give out free lunch tickets to future Rotary meetings. He said the goal is to attract more members for Austintown Rotary.

From the rumble of motors to the bang in the sky, Cole is also working on bringing back fireworks for the annual Fourth of July event.

"The last fireworks show was held at Fitch seven years ago," said Austintown Trustee Jim Davis.

He said the new school construction (for AMS) prevented firework shows from continuing because there wasn't enough required open space.

Back in November of 2011, Davis said he had the vision to bring them back and Austintown Township Park had the space to pull it off. The only thing lacking was funding. He said a decent fireworks display would cost around $25,000. For 2013, Davis teamed up with Mark Cole and the Austintown Growth Enrichment committee to make it happen. Now with an army of people behind the idea, the vision is rapidly becoming a reality.

"We are presently at $10,000," Davis said.

He said $8,000 of that came from local businessman and former county commissioner Ed Reese. Davis said Reese owns two nursing homes in Austintown and believes in community involvement.

"It was a major contribution," Davis said. We're passed the one-third mark and we plan on hitting up local businesses this week to try to come up with the rest."

He said the fireworks will take place at Township Park on July 3 with festivities beginning at 4:30 p.m. with live bands performing. Police and fire departments will have vehicles on display, K-9 demonstrations, and kids Identi-kits.

"We will also have a cornhole tournament pitting the police, fire department, road department, and parks department against each other.

Top that off with the free Tuesday concerts in the park and the new splash-pad water park that is scheduled to be open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and the park should be getting plenty of use this year.

"Our board has taken action to make Township Park a place for families to enjoy," Davis said.

To wrap up a fantastic season will be the return of the Awesometown Festival, which will be moving to the school campus.

"I have been meeting with the Austintown Superintendent Vince Colaluca and

his entire staff on running the Awesome Austintown Grand Opening of the

Schools Oct. 6 from noon til 7," Cole said. "We are going to have a full day starting with a pancake breakfast, followed by a spaghetti dinner in AMS, a 5K run through Austintown with kids races at Fitch, a huge car show in Fitch's parking lot and a craft show inside Fitch. Bands playing at several schools, kids contests at the new schools that will be open for the public to tour all day long. A ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. in the front of the new schools. Food will be sold all over the campus with different organizations running their fundraisers, and so much more."

Also preparing for the event will be Brad Bloomster, one of the original founders of the Awesometown Community Festival.

"We're looking to move the festival this year to the Austintown Schools campus," saids Bloomster. "The construction of the new schools is scheduled to be complete by this fall, and we have been invited to bring the festival there to serve the dual purpose of being an open house of the new schools as well as the community fall festival."

He said people are needed to help make this year's event the biggest and best ever. Anyone wishing to participate can attend the April 1 meeting at the Austintown Senior Center at 6 p.m. There is still a lot of planning to do, but Bloomster said the festival is coming together.

"Some of the entertainment is already lined up, and we know that the weather won't be a factor," Bloomster said.

Cole is hoping all the events this year will be blessed with good weather. He is also bringing a lot of the events under one umbrella on April 1.

"We are having the AGE meeting the fireworks meeting and Awesome Austintown meeting all in the same night," Cole said. "It took us one hour this month and I will hope to take a little more time this coming month to really start to get things done."



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