December 19, 2014

Medina
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Medina council inspects city parks for possible updating

MEDINA — Parks Director Tim Swanson said it’s been almost 15 years since the city last updated its recreation master plan and “it’s time to look back over what we have and need.”

Toward that end, City Council members recently toured the city’s parks.

From left, Ward 4 Councilman Jim Shields, Parks Director Tim Swanson, Parks Superintendent Don Lettotan, parks employee Carol Still stand in the future spot of a splash pad at Ray Mellert Park on North Huntington Street in Medina. Parks staff and Council members recently toured all the city’s parks. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DANI ORR)

From left, Ward 4 Councilman Jim Shields, Parks Director Tim Swanson, Parks Superintendent Don Lettotan, parks employee Carol Still stand in the future spot of a splash pad at Ray Mellert Park on North Huntington Street in Medina. Parks staff and Council members recently toured all the city’s parks. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DANI ORR)

“In order for us to see where we’re heading, we need to know where we’ve been. The parks staff feels very strongly that it is necessary for Council to see what it is we are maintaining,” Swanson said. “We have identified some needs with the park system. Most of them are capital item needs where we want to maintain and improve what we already have.

“Through these visits, Council can get a sense of each park’s acreage that the parks staff maintains and become reacquainted with our parks,” he said.

Medina owns 773.65 acres of parkland and maintains 182.55 acres.

Included on the tour were Ray Mellert Park, Liberty Park, Uptown Park, Fred Greenwood Park, Ken Cleveland Park, Sycamore Park, Huffman Park, Reagan Park, Memorial Park, Roscoe Ewing Park, Sam Masi Park and Jaycee Park.

Swanson said any improvements suggested or discussed were only illustrative. Council would have to approve any projects.

“I found the tour very enlightening, and I think it was great for Council to see firsthand what it is we discuss at budget meetings. It really opened our eyes,” Ward 4 Councilman Jim Shields said. “It was great to see what amenities have been added, and to see what the Parks Department has done in recent years.

“One thing I noticed was we’ve added a lot and expanded with new items at these parks, but the staff hasn’t grown. That was something that had not come to mind until the tour,” Shields said. “Parks asked for a new mower a few years back, and I don’t think Council fully understood why, but after seeing how much land and grass the staff cuts, it makes sense. It really brings it all together.”

Shields said he thought Council benefited so much that he would like to see tours of other areas, such as fire stations and water treatment plants.

“I think it’s a great idea for other parts of the city, too. We’ve done the same thing before, but I think it is time to revisit,” he said. “When those things come up for a budget request, you can actually picture it in your head, and that makes things easier and more understandable for us as a Council.”

“The goal for the tour was to get some things on the radar, and I think that was accomplished,” Swanson said. “The parks staff received a lot of good feedback from Council members, and I think it was good for them to see it from our perspective. Our budget has been shrinking over the last few years and we’ve still been maintaining above average. We still have a lot more to do, but for budgeting purposes, I think we took a step forward.”

Following is a list of the improvements the Parks Department brought to Council’s attention:

• Ray Mellert Park: The park has a basketball court, a pavilion with electricity and grill, play structure and two baseball fields. Recommendations include installing a new splash pad, $185,000; fitness trail, $25,000; security cameras, $25,000; and Musco control link for monitoring lights, $12,000. All projects would be funded through grant money.

• Liberty Park: The park has a pavilion with grill, play structure and wooded area. Recommendations include replacing a play structure, $20,000.

• Uptown Park, Public Square: The park has a gazebo, seating and landscaping. Parks Deparment would like to add 15 flower urns to inventory, $5,000; paint gazebo in even years, $1,500.

• Fred Greenwood Park: The park has a splash pad, concession stand, three soccer fields, three softball fields, two Tee-ball fields, pavilion with electricity and grill, play structure, paved walking trail and permanent restroom. Parks Department hopes to repave parking lots and road, add more parking for the splash pad, replace playground structure, reseal and stripe parking lots and splash pad landscaping. No budget listed.

• Ken Cleveland Park: The park has a tennis court, basketball court, softball field, pavilion with grill, play structure and wooded area. The Parks Department recommends resealing and striping parking lot, $8,840; and installing security lights, $10,000.

• Sycamore Park: The park is a wooded area only. Keep stream free of debris.

Contact Dani Orr at (330) 721-4049 or dorr@medina-gazette.com.