Organizers seeking to honor golfing great Jack Nicklaus by having an Upper Arlington park renamed for him have entered the last stretch of a fundraising campaign for the project.
In June 2016, Upper Arlington City Council unanimously approved renaming Parkway Park, 2470 Tremont Road, as Jack Nicklaus Park.
Last summer, city leaders endorsed a plan spearheaded by Nicklaus' cousin, Jim Nicklaus, along with Jack Saeger and Bob Wandel, to place a permanent commemoration to the "Golden Bear" at the park, located about 50 yards from where the all-time leader in Professional Golfing Association titles grew up.
Now organizers are making a final push to raise money for the project.
Preliminary plans call for the project to include renovations to an existing headwall that could serve as a place for commemorative plaques honoring Jack Nicklaus' contributions to golf, as well as other philanthropic causes championed by Nicklaus and his wife, Barbara. Landscaping improvements also are planned, and a walkway with pavers is a possible addition.
"We're improving the beauty of the park," Jim Nicklaus said. "That is important. It is equally as important as honoring Jack."
The project cost is estimated at $300,000, which organizers hope to fund through financial contributions and materials donations.
They declined to state how much has been raised thus far, but said they hope to conclude the fundraising campaign by the end of January.
"We'd like to complete (fundraising) by the end of January so we can start construction and have the project completed sometime this summer," Jim Nicklaus said.
The Upper Arlington Community Foundation is accepting donations to the project through its Jack Nicklaus Park Fund. The UACF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all donations to the Jack Nicklaus Park Fund are tax-deductible.
Donations can be made through the UACF website at uacommunityfoundation.com or by calling 614-451-0700.
Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Director Debbie McLaughlin has said she supports the project both because it will provide permanent recognition for one of Upper Arlington's favorite sons at the park, which is located just south of West Lane Avenue between Tremont and Coventry roads.
"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 traveled 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."