Parks maintenance facilities are being built on Hard Road land that once was meant to be the site of a 40-acre park and a recreation center.
The two garage-type buildings are being constructed on about 2.6 acres on the west side of the property, next to McCord Middle School and across from Worthington Kilbourne High School.
The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department decided to use that section of the parkland when it became necessary to move parks equipment and vehicles from their existing storage site at the water towers on Smoky Row Road, said Terri Leist, assistant director of recreation and parks.
Using the small portion of the parkland for the buildings should not detract from any future development of the land as a park, she said. No funds are set aside for park use at this point, though, she said.
About 14 acres of the land has been developed as Hard Road Park. The park is not visible from Hard Road but is situated several hundred yards back, down a paved driveway. At the end of the drive is a parking lot, a playground, soccer fields and a walking path.
The park opened in spring 2012.
Between the park and the maintenance building is 24 acres of wooded land, much of which is a steep ravine. The maintenance facility, on the west side of the ravine, will be accessed by its own driveway.
Columbus purchased the 40 acres of farmland in 2002 for $3.8 million.
Many ideas for the parkland were discussed over the years, including the construction of a recreation center for northwest Columbus residents.
Those plans were abandoned when the economy began to decline in 2008 and Columbus was forced to close some of its recreation centers.
The $1.6-million maintenance facility will store the trucks, mowers and other equipment needed to take care of the 20 developed and eight undeveloped parks in northwest Columbus, Leist said.
Three full-time and two part-time seasonal employees will work from the facility.