$14.3 million Orleans Park master plan approved in Perrysburg


PERRYSBURG — A $14.3 million master plan for the future improvements of Orleans Park was approved by council on Tuesday.

“We have a great waterfront community here and it is a huge opportunity for us to continue to expand on that golden gem we have down there,” said Jonathan Smith, council president and recreation committee chair. “I think this is a great stepping stone. It’s going to be a great opportunity to continue developing this park. It’s going to be a multi-year effort to do this.”

Smith said that the park is underutilized and this is an opportunity to create a direction for the future development. As funding comes available, the plan gives a prioritization for those funding opportunities with items acting as placeholders.

Approval of the plan passed 6-0, with Councilman Tim McCarthy absent.

The plan created by the Edge Group, which was engaged in June 2021. Various council committees including planning and zoning, recreation and service, have discussed it.

The plan shows seven phases of development.

The first of the upgrades was described by Smith as the multi-use path extension project and will cost approximately $700,000.

Phase one of the upgrade will be an asphalt multi-use path extension, including a boardwalk over a constructed wildlife and nesting area of wetlands with an observation deck. There are existing wetlands in that section of the park, but sections need various improvements. The path extends east of Green Lane to the trail head on the north side of the parking lot laid out north of the main park entry gateway from Maumee Western Reserve Road.

Some minor changes were accepted prior to the passage of the resolution.

Smith said that a section that was to be a dog park was redesignated as “future programming,” to allow for flexibility.

“It could potentially be a dog park, if there is a want and desire for it, but it allows for future uses as multiple things, instead of just a dog park,” Smith said.

Smith said the multi-year nature of the project has also helped people recognize the need for a new public-private partnership in fundraising.

“This is not necessarily going to be a low-cost park to develop. If we can do public-private partnerships then this can be something that is achievable,” Smith said.

He has been working on developing the new fundraising concept since last summer. Currently, acceptance of donations to the park system requires approval by council, Smith hopes to end that with the creation of a Perrysburg City Foundation.

“For instance, we have had a couple people come forward expressing interest in the adventure park aspect of Orleans Park. They wanted to do fundraisers and search for grants,” Smith said. “The way things stand right now it makes it very difficult for us to receive those funds, but if we create a foundation it will create an opportunity for individuals to pull together and create a fundraising mechanism for those who have a desire and want to donate to the parks.”

Previous versions of the plan included a pump track for bicycles. That location was redesignated as an adventure park. The adventure concept could include a pump track, a skate park and the dog park.

Previous versions of the master plan also showed a boathouse for rowing. During the most recent recreation committee meeting, Feb. 28, a local resident, Mike Dibling, who has been involved in rowing, said that the river at that location has not been conducive for rowing, because of the water level, undercurrents and fishing. He said that the Black Swamp Rowing Club tried out the location and it did not work well.

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