Alum Creek kayaks
Nicer weather launches season of exploration
Michael Price wants people to see Bexley from a different point of view -- more specifically, the view from Alum Creek, which runs through the city.
The parks and recreation director said he has been excited to share the creek's potential ever since last fall, when he and Mayor Ben Kessler took a kayak trip right after learning that the Bexley Community Foundation was awarding the city a $5,000 grant to purchase kayaks, canoes and related equipment.
"We took a nice ride from (Jeffrey Mansion) down to Three Creeks and it really is amazing how scenic it is," Price said. "We were in the middle of a creek, in the middle of a large city, but you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere, very removed from everything and the hustle and bustle of the city. It's very calm and it was just a lot of fun."
For anyone who wants to get in on the adventure, the city will publicly launch its fleet of seven kayaks and one canoe for the first time on Sunday, April 21.
From 1 to 3 p.m., starting at the Clifton Shelter House, residents can take rides; shuttles will be available to pick them up at Schneider Park. Price said the city plans to enlist extra canoes and kayaks so as many people as possible can take part.
Representatives from the Bexley Parks and Recreation Department will also be on hand Sunday to explain more about the rental process and to recognize Nick Ellison, who built the wooden racks that hold the boats as part of his Eagle Scout project.
The Bexley Community Foundation will provide refreshments and also will be recognized during the launch ceremony.
Following the launch, the kayaks and canoe will be available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis. The 24-hour rentals can be reserved at the Jeffrey Mansion from 8 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.
During the summer, renters can make reservations and pick up equipment at the community pool.
Upon pickup, renters will receive the keys that unlock the equipment from racks at Jeffrey Mansion. There is another boat rack at Schneider Park where renters can return their kayak or canoe.
"The design of it is to make it as user-friendly as possible," Price said. "They don't have to worry about having a truck or bigger vehicle to move the boat around, they just have to pick up and return the life vests, paddles and keys."
Price said the half-mile trip to Schneider Park can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Those looking for a longer trip can head down to the site of a second dock area at Three Creeks Metro Park, which could take as long as two hours to paddle to, Price said.
The city plans to purchase additional canoes, which can seat up to three people, and are more family-friendly than kayaks, but cost about twice as much.
Price said it's all part of a bigger plan to further integrate Alum Creek into the community.
Bexley's Alum Creek Corridor Committee has been meeting every month for the last two years to generate awareness of and build interest in the creek, which, until now, hasn't gotten much attention.
In February, Bexley City Council approved a proclamation crafted by the committee that protects the creek and the land around it. The committee's newest project is a park funded by a Bexley Community Foundation grant.
Price said the park will run from Main Street to Livingston Avenue and will highlight the creek.
The kayaks and canoe are "just the first step in trying to get people to interact with Alum Creek," Price said. "We've really started to focus on how we can better integrate the wonderful natural resource of having Alum Creek in our community."