North Star Community raises funds for park improvements

Improvements at North Star Community Park are set to begin this fall (architect rendering). The Darke County Foundation is helping with the fundraising.

NORTH STAR—In the sky overhead, the “North Star” is an anchor around which the northern sky moves. The landmark shines brightly to guide travelers to a fixed destination.

Symbolically, one’s “North Star” is a reliable pillar on which you can depend, a beacon of inspiration and hope.

For the northern Darke County village of North Star, this definition is fitting. Established in 1852, North Star is known for its community spirit, thriving businesses, and robust agricultural operations.

With new housing developments and strong family values, North Star is attracting young families and bringing people home, said Rachel Bergman, trustee of the North Star Community Association.

“Our residents greatly value their quality of life and hometown pride,” said Bergman. At the center of town is the North Star Community Park, home to the two-day Community Picnic, Auxiliary Legion Bean Bake, Craig Stammen Classic Baseball Tournament, and Fall Fest.

The park is often bustling with family reunions, baseball games, and playground activity.

After decades of use, the park is in need of major repairs or replacement of its shelter house, restrooms, storage facilities, parking lot, walkways, and other structures. The North Star Community Association is partnering with the Darke County Foundation to raise at least $1 million from the community to support the project. Already, over $740,000 has been pledged.

Planners hope to break ground this fall.

“Our residents see the importance of investing in our community, making it one we can continue to be proud of and grow with,” said Katie DeLand, secretary of the association.
Major league pitcher and North Star native Craig Stammen is honorary chair of the North Star Community Park Facility Committee. “Whether you make a gift in honor of your family, in memory of loved ones, to celebrate the spirit of our wonderful community, or you volunteer manpower, your support will be greatly appreciated,” said Stammen.

Joining Bergman, DeLand, and Stammen on the facility committee are Alex Davis, Keith Hemmelgarn, John Kindell, Ted Ruchty, Steve Ruhenkamp, Deb Seger, Kevin Selhorst, Carolyn Wilker, and Travis Wilker.

Donors giving $5,000 and over will be recognized on a donor wall in the park. To make a donation, visit or e-mail with your questions or intention.