Northam Park is our "central park" in many ways. It is home to one of our outdoor pools, the Northam Park tennis courts, sports fields, walking paths and a playground, as well as our Senior Center, Tremont Elementary School, the community's main library branch and St. Agatha's Church and School.
Each year, the park plays host to the community's largest special events -- the UA Civic Association's Fourth of July Festival and fireworks, the chamber's Taste of UA and the city's Labor Day Arts Festival. Plus, there's rarely a fair-weather weekend that goes by when the sports fields aren't in full use by various sports leagues.
For all this year-round activity, Northam Park evolved in a piecemeal manner. The placement of some existing facilities is not conducive to other park uses. Several components are aging and close to exceeding their useful lives -- such as the Tremont Pool, which requires increasing maintenance and oversight in order to reopen each season -- and the Senior Center, which is comprised of modular buildings built decades ago as temporary space for the elementary school.
Plus, there are several drainage issues that can negatively affect the use of field space during wet weather.
As is the case for other elements of the city's infrastructure (streets, water lines, storm sewers, etc.), the city recognizes that significant maintenance work and upgrades are required on our part to prepare the park for the decades ahead.
To that end, the city is preparing to dedicate capital funds for some significant projects.
In 2013, the city contracted with the firm MKSK to develop a strategic master plan for Northam Park.
The master plan is complete and was presented to Upper Arlington City Council at the close of 2013.
The city is already planning to embark on the first phase of park enhancements this year -- the reconstruction of the public parking lot off Tremont Road that also serves the library and Tremont Elementary School. The timing and order of additional park improvements, as outlined within the master plan, is still to be determined, based on need and funding availability.
The entire Northam Park Master Plan document is available at uaoh.net under the "Headlines" section of the homepage.
UA summer programs
With just two UA Insight newsletters completed, the city and Upper Arlington schools are ready for more partnerships, and we're excited about what's ahead. Our latest joint project entails the inclusion of the school district's summer courses within the city's spring/summer edition of the Activity Guide, providing a one-source document of everything you need and want for your child's education and entertainment this coming summer.
Look for the spring/summer 2014 edition of the Activity Guide the week of March 17; it will be mailed directly to all UA homes. Online registration for classes can be found at uaoh.net -- just look for the Activity Guide icon on our homepage and you're on your way.
Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.