Olentangy Valley News

Powell seeks opinions as new park comes together

Levy-funded Park at Seldom Seen will have to wait until Murphy Parkway extension is finished, though

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The city of Powell is giving its residents a chance to provide feedback on plans for the city's eighth park.

Powell has scheduled an open house at 7:30 p.m. June 24 in the city's Municipal Building, 47 Hall St., to allow for discussion of the Park at Seldom Seen.

The 23-acre park site sits on the north side of Seldom Seen Road just west of the CSX railroad tracks. The public will get its first chance to comment on the specifics of the park proposal at the meeting.

"We have a proposed design that will be unveiled to the public at the meeting," Powell spokeswoman Megan Canavan said.

Canavan said the park's design already incorporates the three features most often requested by city residents: athletic fields, playground equipment and walking paths.

Suggestions from the public may be included in the park's master plan, expected to be approved by Powell City Council later this year.

"We want the community to feel involved and a part of this park," Canavan said.

Funding for the parks development will be provided by a 10-year, 1.8-mill capital improvement levy that took effect in January. The levy, passed by voters in 2012, will cost homeowners $55.13 annually per $100,000 in property value.

The levy is expected to generate about $7.2 million in funding for the city over 10 years.

The actual construction of the park likely won't occur until 2016 as the city continues to focus on another capital improvement project.

"The priority right now is to focus on the Murphy Parkway extension," Canavan said.

The long-discussed project to extend Murphy Parkway -- which currently ends just west of South Liberty Street -- also will be completed using levy funding. Officials see the extension as a way for motorists to avoid downtown Powell and a key part of plans to ease congestion at the Four Corners intersection.

Recently, council allocated $260,540 to pay for engineering services for the project from Columbus-based firm EMH&T.

After those services are completed, Canavan said the city will be able to project costs and a timeline for the extension. The one sure thing is that the project will precede the park's development, city leaders said.

While the park and parkway extension are expected to remain on the drawing board until at least 2015, city residents will start to notice the levy's impact around town later this year.

The city has awarded a $412,000 contract to Jess Howard Electric of Blacklick to design and install new traffic lights at Sawmill Parkway's intersections with Galloway and Village Club drives. As part of the project, new pedestrian signals also will be installed at Sawmill Parkway's intersections with Rutherford Road and Village Club Drive.

The levy also will provide additional funding for the street's road maintenance and bike path programs.

Canavan said design work is underway for paths on the north side of Rutherford Road from Sawmill Parkway west to Tricia Price Drive, and west of North Liberty Street from Brookehill Drive to Seldom Seen Road.

The city's road maintenance program was budgeted at $750,000 this year thanks to levy funds. The program was budgeted at $500,000 the previous year.

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