A year after renaming a city park in honor of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, plans are underway to bring a commemorative marker to the site.
Last June, Upper Arlington City Council voted unanimously to rename Parkway Park after Jack Nicklaus, the all-time leader in Professional Golf Association titles, a champion of philanthropy for children's medical services and a 1957 graduate of Upper Arlington High School.
The park was selected because the "Golden Bear" grew up at the corner of Collingswood and Coventry roads, about 50 yards from park, and he would hit golf balls into the park as a child.
At the time, Nicklaus' cousin, Dr. Jim Nicklaus, likened Parkway Park to the birthplace of the Golden Bear's Hall of Fame golf game.
Now city officials and Nicklaus' family and friends are working to place a commemorative marker at the east end of the park that would recognize the golfer, his life in UA, his career and other lifetime achievements.
"A tribute marker will complete his boyhood park, giving the park a purpose that the whole community can share," Jim Nicklaus said.
As proposed, a stone pillar would be erected in the park that would feature plaques on all four sides. It would be placed on a paver walkway with "modest landscape," according to an Aug. 28 staff report from Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Director Debbie McLaughlin to council.
"The city is proud to support efforts to commemorate the childhood of Jack Nicklaus and his life in our community that led to becoming the greatest golfer of all time," McLaughlin said. "It is of particular interest to showcase the park that Jack used to start playing golf and travel through daily to get to Scioto Country Club.
"As Jack's accomplishments are known worldwide, a tribute to him in Upper Arlington will share his youthful start to future generations and hopefully serve as an inspiration to children."
The estimated $300,000 project would be funded privately through donations.
Any funds remaining after construction would be gifted to the city to cover the estimated $1,000 in annual landscaping that's expected to be needed.
According to McLaughlin's staff report, the largest expense would be for relocating a headwall over the park's natural remnant stream about 20 to 30 feet farther west, allowing the marker to be located away from vehicle traffic at the east end of the park.
"The pillar will be made of stone, four-sided about seven feet tall," Jim Nicklaus said. "The four sides will have picture of Jack, possibly enclosed in stone or bronze plaques, as well as his accomplishments as a youth (and) junior golfer and donors' names."
Jim Nicklaus said construction of the marker is expected to begin in November, with a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony tentatively planned for May 2018.
Those who contribute $10,000 or more to the marker project will have their names engraved on a pillar plaque and will receive an invitation to a private reception prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the marker.
The marker committee plans to announce how the public can contribute to the project in the near future.