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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2004

Waterville considers hiring consultant for park planning


Waterville village officials are considering hiring a consultant to put together a master plan for the community s park system.

Creation of a master plan is a goal of the council and parks and recreation committee for 2004, said Jay Bahr, municipal administrator.

Mr. Bahr said he would be meeting with Councilman Ann Cherry who recently attended the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association conference in Columbus.

After he meets with her and gets a report from her on the conference, he will send out a request for qualifications to about 30 consulting firms that do this type of work. The responses, he said, should help narrow the field to firms that are especially qualified and have done park plans for communities similar to Waterville

Initial estimates for a master plan by a national firm might be between $30,000 to $50,000, Mr. Bahr said, adding that the village probably can scale back the amount of detail, such as for landscape and architecture, to reduce the cost to under $25,000.

“It s really hard to say until we see what various firms might propose to include in their typical master plan,” he said. “Some may get as detailed as adding in assistance for the implementation phases and staffing the community-input phase, while others may not.”

Members of the parks and recreation committee have indicated an interest in making sure the village has an overall plan in place for the park system, particularly for Conrad Park where some changes will take place with the expansion of the adjacent library, Mr. Bahr said.

Village council has agreed to lease land in Conrad Park to provide room for the expanded facilities at the Waterville branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. Work on the renovation and expansion project is to get underway this year, and that project will mean that the basketball court in the park will be eliminated.

Conrad Park is one of the busiest parks in Waterville. The village conducts its summer parks program there, and many area youngsters play ball there in the summer. Officials want to make sure that there is proper planning for park activities to avoid the possibility of overcrowding, Mr. Bahr said.

“The reasoning behind wanting to do the plan is to make sure we are using our parks for correct purposes and to provide the services and facilities that a modern municipal park system is expected to provide,” he said.

Village officials, he said, would like the master plan to answer some specific questions, including:

w The best use, if any, for the old fire station and the existing shelter building or possible replacement;

w Location of basketball courts;

w Best ways to utilize village-owned land as greenspace;

w How to generate more use at Stitt Park;

w How to incorporate more park and greenspace where the population is growing;

The master plan would help the village figure out if all parks should have duplicate facilities or if each park should have a distinctive use, Mr. Bahr said.

The plan should include a land-use plan and facilities plan for each park and include some detailed recommendations on what trees and plants should added or removed from the parks, he said.

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