Residents on the northwest side of the city have waited more than a year to see a splash pad open at Ray Mellert Park. City officials promised last year to build the splash pad — one of several improvements planned for the park — at an April 10 public meeting at Second Baptist Church, 451 Bronson St., which borders the park.
Residents were told construction would start in mid-July and the project would be finished by late summer.
Some of the improvements — a quarter-mile fitness trail and lighting for the baseball field — were done last summer.
But the splash pad and accompanying restrooms never happened.
City Engineer Patrick Patton said the project was delayed because it had to be bid three times, after the first two bids came in over budget.
Ground has been broken on the project and the foundation of the restroom installed.
Patton said construction would be completed next month, but said he didn’t have an exact date for when the pad would open.
“It will be open this summer,” he said.
Neighborhood residents had lobbied the city to build the splash pad — especially after the city’s only public swimming pool, at Memorial Park near Claggett Middle School, closed last summer.
Officials said the city couldn’t afford the approximately $1 million in needed repairs.
Patton said the Mellert Park improvements are funded by a $300,000 federal Neighborhood Revitalization grant.
The loss of the pool left only one place outdoors for kids to get some liquid relief from the summer’s heat — the splash pad at Fred Greenwood Park, built in 2007.
The problem was Greenwood Park was more than two miles away, on West Sturbridge Drive, near A.I. Root Middle School on the southwest side of town.
“There’s no place for kids on this side of town to go,” said Rubi Medley, who lives on West Union Street near North Court Street with her 7-year-old granddaughter.
Medley pointed out that many of the children who live in the Union Square apartment complex by Mellert Park lack transportation.
She said some families in the neighborhood did go to the pool, which cost $3 a day or $30 for a season pass.
To partially make up for the loss of the pool, city officials lowered the daily fee for the indoor pool at the Medina Community Recreation Center from $7 to $5 for non-members who qualify for the federal school lunch program and seniors older than 60.
“That’s too much,” said Medley, who was helping to distribute food at Second Baptist Church on Friday evening. “You might get to go once a month.”
The 2,000-square-foot splash pad at Mellert Park will be free — just like the slightly larger one at Greenwood Park.
That likely will be important to many families in the neighborhood.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the tract surrounding Ray Mellert Park is less affluent than the city as a whole. According to the latest estimates, the median household income in 2007-11 was $46,826 compared to $56,389 for the city.
The median household income in the tract surrounding Greenwood Park was higher — $77,241.
Medley said she was disappointed last year when the splash pad didn’t open, but was glad to see progress on the project this year.
“I’m pretty pleased with it,” she said. “You can’t rush progress.”
Councilman Brian Hilberg, whose Ward 1 includes Mellert Park, said he had hoped to see the splash pad open in time for a neighborhood block party planned for July 13, but he didn’t think that would happen.
Hilberg said he hadn’t heard complaints from residents about the yearlong delay.
“Everybody in Ward 1 is anxious to see it get open, but nobody’s really complained about it,” he said.
The city likely will plan a grand opening for the pad once it is complete, he said.
Tim Swanson, Medina parks director, said excavations have begun for the splash pad, as well as public restrooms.
“We had to readjust it and re-bid it,” he said. “That takes time, unfortunately.”
Swanson said the splash pad would have water features similar to those at Fred Greenwood Park.
A main circular portion of the pad will have eight spray features and a smaller circle will have five water features, he said.
Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|How two neighborhoods compare|
|The neigbhorhood around Medina’s Ray Mellert Park on the city’s northwest side is racially more|
|diverse but less affluent than the southwest neighborhood surrounding Fred Greenwood Park.|
|Ray Mellert Park||Fred Greenwood Park||City totals|
|off North Huntington Street||off West Sturbridge Drive|
|Census Tract 4081||Census Tract 4082.02|
|65 and older||901||467||3,016|
|Median household income||$46,826||$77,241||$56,389|
|Percent residents in poverty|
|Under 18 years||19.1%||8.9%||19.9%|
|Total housing units||3,100||1,925||10,204|
|Median home value||$160,400||$202,500||$168,600|
|SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007-2011 American Community Survey|