Plans are in place for the first reconstruction of the Northam Park parking lot in nearly three decades.

Plans are in place for the first reconstruction of the Northam Park parking lot in nearly three decades.

Upper Arlington City Council on Monday, March 10, unanimously approved spending up to $75,790 for engineering and construction plans related to the first rebuild of the parking lot since 1987.

Columbus-based MKSK will design the parking lot reconstruction. The company currently is conducting a Short North parking study in Columbus; in 2010, it completed a downtown Columbus strategic plan.

If the project proceeds as planned, the actual reconstruction of the parking lot -- which also serves the Upper Arlington Public Library Main Branch, Tremont Pool and Tremont Elementary -- will be done this summer.

"All I can say is, thank God," Upper Arlington City Councilman Erik Yassenoff said. "It's about time."

According to Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Director Tim Moloney, the parking lot is in poor condition and is littered with potholes and cracks.

MKSK's design work is expected to yield a true cost for the project, but Moloney estimated it could cost between $750,000 and $1 million. The Upper Arlington school district is expected to fund 20 percent of the construction.

"The lot has gone beyond normal repair," he said. "All of the asphalt is in a poor condition and there is extensive replacement of the base needed, as well. The base is in such a condition that (it) does not allow for repair.

"This is pretty normal for a commercial parking lot which is over 25 years old," Moloney added.

Currently, the lot has 292 spaces.

Moloney said MKSK will seek to enhance pedestrian safety, as well as pick-up and drop-off efficiency and safety for Tremont Elementary School.

The parking lot project also is expected to be a jumping-off point for a much larger project, which could address everything from drainage and the configuration of the 22-acre Northam Park to the installation of ornamental gardens and a pavilion.

The park master plan also calls for the replacement of the Upper Arlington Senior Center and Tremont Pool, the installation of a reading garden for the library, plus classroom expansion and the construction of a public gymnasium at Tremont Elementary.

The projects outside the Northam Park parking lot, however, are still to be determined and likely will rely heavily on city partnerships with private organizations.

"Northam Park is Upper Arlington's Central Park," Moloney said. "Our largest events and greatest number of participants gather daily at this site. Adding in the library and Tremont Elementary, no other one site serves as many of our residents as this site.

"We have not established a working budget for the project as a whole," he said.

"I am very happy to say that the Upper Arlington Community Foundation has taken on the role as our lead partner in private fundraising as the project moves forward," Moloney added. "We believe this has the potential of being the largest private fundraising effort ever taken place here in UA."