An $81,000 grant from the Bexley Community Foundation will enable the city of Bexley Recreation and Parks Department to move forward with plans to develop athletic fields in the Ferndale Place/ Mayfield Place neighborhood in southwest Bexley.

An $81,000 grant from the Bexley Community Foundation will enable the city of Bexley Recreation and Parks Department to move forward with plans to develop athletic fields in the Ferndale Place/ Mayfield Place neighborhood in southwest Bexley.

Recreation Director Michael Price said the foundation's grant matches an $81,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The grants will fund the development of a 1.5-acre athletic field, parking lot with lighting, connection to the Alum Creek Pathway (a project also funded by the Bexley Community Foundation), a playground, bicycle racks, portable restroom facilities, trash receptacles and emergency call boxes.

The recreation department has contracted an engineering firm to conduct soil tests of the site, which was formerly a landfill, with results and recommendations for how to proceed expected by mid-May, Price said.

"That recommendation will be important for our designer to figure out how we design the space in terms of what we have to do to the soil" to ensure it's in condition for athletes to play on, Price said at the recreation board's May 4 meeting at Jeffrey Mansion.

One option is to "put down a clay cap that separates the new soil from the old soil."

The cost of developing the Ferndale/Mayfield athletic fields is estimated at $196,000, and soil remediation may add to the cost, Price said. With the ODNR and foundation grants totaling $162,000 and an additional $100,000 that Bexley City Council allotted in the city's Recreation Fund, the project should be fully funded, with completion tentatively scheduled for spring or summer 2017, he said.