Westland Area residents expressed excitement Feb. 22 to hear that soccer fields and walking paths will be coming to a brand new community park near them.

Westland Area residents expressed excitement Feb. 22 to hear that soccer fields and walking paths will be coming to a brand new community park near them.

About 40 residents turned out for a public forum held that night at the Westland Library to ask questions and get their first glimpse of plans for the park. It will be located on 11 acres at the corner of Alton Darby Creek Road and West Broad Street.

Maureen Lorenz, of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, said it is anticipated that construction of the new community park will begin either in late April or early May. Bids for the $250,000 project were expected to be opened on Thursday.

Phase one of the park will feature 51 parking spaces, a quarter-mile walking loop that leads to two athletic fields and a playground. There will also be plenty of active space for walking dogs, flying kites and having picnics, Lorenz said.

Most of those attending the public meeting said they were excited about having new park space. One resident, however, said the Westland area needs more than just a community park.

"This is a nice start, but in no way sufficient to what I need around here," resident and youth soccer coach Bill Rains said. "It has been hard for our kids to compete against the Dublins and the Westervilles."

Rains said residents are forced to use recreation facilities in neighboring communities like Grove City, Hilliard and Dublin. As an independent soccer coach seeking to help the youth of the community, that is frustrating, Rains said.

"I want to start a travel team on this side of town," he said. "I've seen this area grow and we need more park space. I want more kids involved in stuff that is positive. Soccer helps with that."

Lorenz entertained a lot of questions about the eventuality of a community center on the same site. About three years ago Columbus had grand plans of establishing brand new family centers in various parts of the city, including the West Side.

Then the economy tanked.

"We are still looking for partnerships when it comes to the creation of a regional recreation center," Lorenz said.

Possible partners in the creation and funding of a community center include Prairie Township and possibly Doctors Hospital, she said.

While the Westland community waits for the building of its new community park. Lorenz said residents can think of a name for it."Every community that is successful has a park it identifies with," Lorenz said. "We really do feel that this is a really good start."

Lorenz said the new park should be open one year from its start date.