The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

There is a new recreation director in Jerusalem Township, and he has a familiar face. Michael Skitowski moves into the part-time position at a time when big plans are on the drawing board.

Skitowski is known to many of the residents in the township and in Oregon because he is currently employed in the Oregon School System as the adaptive physical education specialist. He was an elementary physical education teacher at Jerusalem Elementary for 10 years, starting in 1996.
Skitowski, a Sylvania Northview High School graduate, brings with him a master’s degree in education from the University of Toledo. He has experience as a coach, referee, and recreational complex supervisor.

Skitowski has also been an organizer for many fundraising events, including Walk for Diabetes and Jump Rope for the Heart.

“He was the top dog,” said Matt Smithers, chairman of the recreation advisory board.

Smithers was comparing Skitowski’s credentials to six other candidates. The applicants were narrowed to two before Skitowski was offered the position.

“Our board is excited to have such a qualified resident of the township fill this position. Mike comes to us with great ideas and will take the township recreational program to the next level,” Smithers said.

Skitowski says he is looking forward to the year-long challenges that face being in charge of a recreation program.

“They do offer tee-ball, coach pitch, soccer, flag football, youth football, basketball, so there are quite a few things. There is a lot going on,” Skitowski, who replaces Lonnie Hart, said. Spring soccer was added this year.

Skitowski, who has been in his new position about two weeks, comes in at a time when planning is being finalized for a new recreation complex.

“So far, it’s been interesting,” Skitowski said. “I’m very interested in that. They do have some plans that are not finalized. That’s going to be the big thing coming up in the next few years. I can’t wait to get that facility started.”

He believes the first phase will include construction of baseball and softball diamonds. Down the road, Skitowski said, will be soccer fields, and the third stage will include buildings, concessions, and so forth.

The township has 26 acres adjacent behind Jerusalem Elementary on Sacks Road to build the estimated $200,000 facility. Smithers said plans include a four-diamond pinwheel with discussions including construction of 60 to 75 feet adjustable base paths for the baseball/softball diamonds.

“What we’ve got now is the planning stages,” Smithers said. “There is a lot of fine tuning, a lot of tweaking. One of the things is the parking lot, Mr. (Oregon School District facility manager Paul) Gilliland wants us to put the parking lot on the school property so that both of us can use it and that will save us a lot of space.

“Now we’re debating on where exactly to put it, and find a space for it because we don’t want to take away from green space where the kids will be playing at.”

The money raised so far for the complex is being held in a state investment fund, Smithers said. He added that fundraising efforts have included dances and dinners to help meet their goal. But fundraising can be tough, he admits.

“We got a little burned out because it was the same four people doing it over and over. If we can get anybody else to help out, that would be great. But we figured we’d be able to get more,” Smithers said.

When drawings are finalized, the township will begin researching grants, Smithers said.

“We haven’t applied for anything yet until we have all our ducks in a row,” Smithers explained. “We want to have the facility figured out, and then we send out the specs to different grant companies and say we have x amount of dollars for match, and go from there.

“We’d like to get a shovel in the ground in the spring. We’re hoping. The fine tuning takes some time and we’ve got to get together with the school board, and they’ve got to finalize their approval for where the parking lot is going to be.

“This project alone I have learned so much, and there’s probably a lot more for me to learn,” Smithers, who works for Norfolk-Southern Railroad, said.

The recreation board is looking for individuals who would like to help with the project.  

“We would like the community to help build this project for our community,” trustees plead on the township website.

Jerusalem Township is also looking for residents who are interested in serving on the recreation advisory board. This board meets the first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. Call the township office at 419-836-8921 and leave a message.




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