Pickerington Times-Sun

Deed restriction blocks Colony Park playground

By MICHAEL HAYES
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A deed restriction has thwarted Pickerington officials' desire to install playground equipment in Colony Park.

As part of the City Parks and Recreation Master Plan, the city sought to install the $16,000 equipment, purchased with money generated from developer impact fees, in the vacant green space located in the Colony Park subdivision off Long Road.

City officials were informed at Pickerington City Council's Safety Committee meeting Jan. 16 that the grantor of the property, William Fannin Builders Inc. has a restriction in its deed to the city that mandates the 5.8 acres of open space be used as "passive space" only.

According to city code, passive space "... does not contain any active recreational equipment, game courts or playing fields."

It can include "... benches, picnic areas or tot lots."

Pickerington was hoping to install a product called "Playbooster," which is geared towards ages 5-12, in Colony Park.

"Having read the deed it seems pretty clear we're not allowed to do that," said Jeff Fix, a city councilman and safety committee member.

City Councilwoman Cristie Hammond expressed disappointment with the fact Colony Park can't be put to a more active use.

"It sits there useless and the city has to pay to mow it," Hammond said.

City Parks and Recreation Director Becca Medinger said the city will probably now place the playground equipment in Sycamore Park.

As for Colony Park, it will remain as its grantors intended.

"We were just trying to enhance another park," said Ed Drobina, Pickerington city services director.

"(Now) we mow it," Drobina said.

"There are two high-pressure natural gas lines (running) through the middle of it. We can't put anything in the easement.

"(The equipment) was going to be outside the easement," he said.

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