The Huntley Bowl. The name sparks visions of lazy summer concerts or a winter sports wonderland.

The Huntley Bowl. The name sparks visions of lazy summer concerts or a winter sports wonderland.

That is what city fathers thought too, when they designed the steeply sloped nine-acre park nearly 28 years ago.

The park, located on the west side of Huntley Road about a quarter mile north of West Dublin-Granville Road, was to double as a retention basin. And for the past 22 years, since construction was completed in 1986, it has performed that task well.

After heavy storms, water collects in the deep bowl, dispersing slowly, thus avoiding high waters in the Rush Creek channel to the south.

But the recreational aspect of the park has never quite lived up to its billing, and, with parts of the park now literally crumbling underfoot, Worthington City Council is in a quandary over what to do next.

Council on Monday tabled an ordinance to pay $21,370 to remove two concrete staircases that are sliding down the hill and pose a safety issue for those who use the park - though they may be few.

Council members said they want to take a closer look at the park and to come up with a long-term plan that could include closing the park to the public altogether.

"Should we put $21,000 into it if we don't know where we are going?" asked council member David Norstrom.

The park was designed as a venue for concerts. One side of the steeply slanted banks includes stadium-style seating built into the bank.

But there have been only two concerts in the history of the Huntley Bowl - a Reggaefest and a Battle of the Bands - both in the 1980s.

Designers left out an important detail needed for concerts. There are only 50 parking spaces.

"It just never really worked in terms of large venue events," said Parks and Recreation director Lynda Chambers.

Designers also planned for the steep hills to be used for sledding. Trouble is, the hills are too steep. Sledders take a "nosedive down," said Chambers.

Currently, the park is used for an occasional game of pick-up soccer or rugby, she said.

"This is clearly a site that did not fulfill its vision," said council member John Butterfield.

During the city's Bicentennial celebration, Butterfield attempted to round up the wagon train at Huntley Bowl, where he thought residents would come to get a close view.

Trouble was, few Worthington residents know where the Huntley Bowl was, he said.

He called the Huntley Bowl "the stepchild of our parks."

The crumbling stairways are on each side of the stadium seating. The word "stop" has been painted on the top of one stairway, which is partially covered with weeds. The railing has fallen down.

The second one still has a railing, but the steps are uneven and have sunk into the ground.

A third set of stairs on the east side of the bowl is still in good condition.

While council is deciding how to proceed, city law director Mike Minister warned members of the liability, which increased when council was told of the safety problems.

Once you are put on notice, he told them, failure to react increases the liability of the city.