Tim Sisson 0

Investing in the future of Upper Arlington Parks

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As you have probably noticed, work began this spring on the renovations at Northam Park. The first phase of the project was repairing and replacing the subterranean drainage systems. This will alleviate the flooding at water issues that plague the park whenever we have heavy rains and/or snow melt.

Phase Two of the project is the demolition and replacement of the blockhouse and tennis facility at the center of the park. The demolition is slated for this fall with construction of the new facility over the winter and spring. The replacement building will have a large, covered area for gatherings and shelter for inclement weather. The building will also house a new tennis facility, storage for the parks department and youth sports and updated public restrooms.

Phase Three consists of regrading the east end of the park and reconstructing the baseball diamonds. The regrading in conjunction with the new drainage will further help the water issues at the park. The diamonds will be rebuilt so that the fence issues are corrected and the fields will properly drain. After regrading, the plans call for new topsoil to be added and new turf (natural grass) to be planted throughout the park. If your kids do not play football or you have not spent a lot of time in the grassy areas, this is a long overdue and necessary step to revitalizing the park.

The current turf is made up of spreading ground weeds, clover and unhealthy grass. It looks good from the street in the spring but it is far from ideal in practical terms. The life cycle of the park is rains in the spring which allows the turf to be easily torn up and damaged. This is followed by a dry summer (the turf is not irrigated) with heavily trafficked events like July 4th and the Labor Day Art Fest. The wear and tear ruins most of the grass that is there and the weeds begin their assault. By fall when football is happening, the grassy area is really just mud or rock hard ground covered in weeds that have a shallow root system. It is easily torn up with youth football and soccer and it becomes a dangerous environment for the kids.

The reason we are explaining this all to you is that the overall project is one worth getting behind. The state of our park system is abominable compared to other similarly situated communities in the area. Part of this is due to the city’s ban on using any type of turf maintenance program aside from mowing and hoping. Part of the city project is the proposal to use fertilizer, weed deterrent products and/or pesticides to facilitate healthy growth and maintenance of the new turf. The city is doing their due diligence and investigating the use of both organic and non-organic products from multiple suppliers. It is our opinion that a sound and practical turf maintenance program is vital to the health and durability of the turf and the park as a whole. It will help create a more aesthetic park and more importantly, ensure a safe playing environment for all of our youth sports.

Additionally, as tax-paying citizens, we believe to invest these type of funds and time into the park and to not take the needed step to properly maintain the new turf is just not sound fiscal policy. You would not purchase a new car and then not pay for the necessary upkeep and maintenance and we shouldn’t ignore the maintenance of the park after investing in it's much needed reconstruction. While Bear Cub always strives to maintain an apolitical stance on issues within the community, this issue directly affects us, our players and youth sports in the city as a whole.

We are asking that if you are in agreement that the city should maintain the parks properly and could spare some time, please sign this online petition that we can deliver to the City Council on June 13. If you have any questions regarding the meeting, please do not hesitate to reach out, we are happy to point you to the city’s proposal or answer any questions we can.

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