Riverfront project draws crowd PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER, Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 09:27
PERRYSBURG - Flooding council chambers Tuesday, a standing room only crowd of more than 100 residents was given a detailed review of a $26 million master plan for the city parks by those who created it.
The project, designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux of Southfield, Mich., is intended to serve as a long-term guide of how to best upgrade Hood, Riverside and Orleans parks in a way that blends them with the downtown and Fort Meigs areas.
Tuesday's meeting was informational rather than a debate on the merits or funding for the project. Some residents asked questions during a 15-minute segment, while many more submitted them on blue slips of paper.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Brody Walters said all questions would be addressed as soon as possible, with responses to be posted on the city's website: www.ci.perrysburg.oh.us.
The park proposal cost about $50,000, said Mayor Nelson Evans. It has roots dating back to 2005 when the city's comprehensive plan was being developed.
It can be considered piece-by-piece and has elements intended to target many specific grant sources for funding, said Mark Hieber, of Harley Ellis Devereaux. Also speaking during the presentation was architect Kate MacPherson.
"The notion of a master plan really is a road map to help us see how the future could be, and to work toward that in some logical fashion so that whatever enhancements we make fit with the long-term ideas and work well over time," Hieber said.
Evans said when the city was first plotted, the waterfront area was reserved for common use, and the goal is to bolster river access to citizens.
"I thought it was a great idea to kind of pursue that and see what was possible," the mayor said. "Obviously what is shown here tonight is a huge concept. There's a lot to it, and to say that 20 years from now it's all going to look like this, we can't say that. But it's an opportunity to explore, to kind of get a feel for what could be. And then the young people down the road are going to decide, 'What part of this do we want to move forward with?'"
Walters said the plan is "conceptual," and actually incorporating what it suggests would require further engineering.
The project includes total renovations of $10.9 million at Orleans Park, $12 million at Hood Park and $3.2 million at Riverside Park, including contingencies, Hieber said. Proposed recreation features included: multi-purpose trails, ice rinks, riverfront access, an expanded public/private marina, and even a "high adventure area" at Orleans Park with a zip-line and high ropes course.
Hieber called the riverfront the city's "front door," and said it's not being used as best it could.
Benefits of developing the area as outlined in the plan not only involve community recreation and preserving the city's heritage, but making the area a "regional draw" and "economic engine" likely to boost property values.
Some residents, particularly nearby property owners, weren't convinced, and expressed concern over lack of maintenance attention in the area and how late it would be open.
Others had problems with the price tag and questioned the presence of demand from the public for such a park system. One suggested studying how similar projects have been completed in comparable communities, while another worried about displacing wildlife and trading nature for "amusement park" features.
Council members attended the meeting but did not weigh in Tuesday during the regular meeting that followed.
The matter will likely be considered next at a Recreation Committee meeting at 5 p.m. Aug. 19, with council discussing how to proceed with the plan Aug. 20, said Joe Lawless, council president and chair of the committee.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 09:33

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