Residents on Gahanna's west side are closer to having a new 7-acre park.

The Gahanna Planning Commission on March 28 approved a final development plan and design review application for a park on the northeast corner of Hines and McCutcheon roads.

Jeff Barr, the city's parks and recreation director, said the main elements to be completed this year include a playground, a restroom and a loop trail. The playground could be open by the end of this summer.

He said a basketball court, a tennis court and a picnic shelter are planned for 2019, if funding is available.

Michael Blackford, the city's deputy development director, said the city purchased the property in December 2015, for use as a park to serve Gahanna's west side. He said the zoning code recently was changed to allow city parks in the site's zoning designation of restricted institutional district.

Blackford said the plan includes a parking lot of about 40 spaces, walking trails, recreation courts and restroom facilities.

"It has been a long time coming, and we're near the finish line," he said.

Commission member Don Shepherd questioned the choice of wooden material -- board and batten -- proposed for the restroom building's sides.

"Did we look at something maintenance-free?" he said.

"It's a prefabricated building that will be on site," Barr said. "We're going for the architectural fit for the neighborhood. It's a standing-seam metal roof. We felt it would fit into the neighborhood."

Standing-seam roofs refer to metal panels that usually run vertically, with a raised interlocking seam.

Commission member John Hicks said the park is an exciting addition to the area, and Barr and Gahanna City Council did a lot to make it happen.

"I think it's a welcome addition to the city," said Tom Wester, commission chairman. "I look forward to you breaking ground."

Shepherd, Hicks, Wester and commissioners Bobbie Burba and Joe Keehner voted in favor of the application. Jennifer Price and Michael Suriano were absent.

Mayor Tom Kneeland previously said the park is one of the city's priorities this year.

One of the park's key features will be an inclusive and adaptive playground, providing play opportunities for children of all abilities.

The park also will have equipment that is adaptable for physically challenged individuals.

Kneeland said the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation contributed a $100,000 grant for the park's development, and the city received some additional grants.

A ground-breaking event for the park will be held soon, Barr said.

Council member Stephen Renner is serving as chairman for a park-naming committee, which also includes four residents from Ward 1.

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@ThisWeekMarla