Sylvania City Council last night hired Feller, Finch & Associates of Maumee to provide engineering design services for the retention pond and Lathrop House ramp in Harroun Community Park.
The firm will provide the services at a cost of no more than $11,000, according to the contract approved by council.
After the Lathrop House, said to be a station on the Underground Railroad, was relocated to the Sylvania park and a new education building was constructed on the nearby St. Joseph's Church property, a retention pond was created to accommodate runoff and drainage issues.
However, residents complained that bulldozers ruined the ravine near the Lathrop House. The ravine reportedly was used to provide cover for slaves escaping to Canada along the Underground Railroad.
Others contend that the retention pond has caused flooding in the park during heavy rainfall.
Several weeks ago, council recommended that a consultant be hired to make recommendations on rebuilding the ravine; on construction of a ramp for the Lathrop House to provide accessibility for the disabled, and on what to do with the retention pond.
Feller, Finch & Associates will provide the city with topographical survey work; preliminary sketches of possible alternatives for proposed improvements including restoration of the ravine, and preparation of a site layout plan based on a preferred alternate.
Estimated costs will be provided for the proposed improvements.
Proposed plans will be presented to council, and it will be up to council to decide whether to implement the plans, said Jeffrey Ballmer, the city's director of public service.