The city of Gahanna has purchased land from a local congregation to provide a place for outdoor recreation for residents on the west side of town.

The city of Gahanna has purchased land from a local congregation to provide a place for outdoor recreation for residents on the west side of town.

Gahanna Mayor Becky Stinchcomb and the Rev. Dave Jansen of CenterPoint Church announced during the Nov. 1 worship service that the city is purchasing 7.44 acres of open field around the church for future use as parkland at 620 McCutcheon Road.

The congregation will continue to own 4.25 acres and all of the structures and parking lots for their activities and ministry in Gahanna, according to city officials.

The city is making a $200,000 down payment and then $178,696 in 2016 and in 2017 for a total purchase price of $557,392.

"We are thankful that Pastor Dave and CenterPoint Church worked so hard with us to complete this purchase this past week," Stinchcomb said. "It is certainly a rare opportunity to find almost eight acres of open space available in this historically more densely developed west-side neighborhood."

The land previously was owned by the Good Samaritan Church and was being considered by a developer for multifamily housing.

"The church and city leaders heard the concerns of the neighbors, and together we resolved that the community would be best served with parkland, compared to other uses like multifamily housing or other potential commercial uses," Stinchcomb said.

Jansen told ThisWeek that CenterPoint Church's congregation is very pleased to be to able make the land available to the city for a community park.

"We believe it is a win-win for all the parties involved, especially our neighbors on this end of town," he said. "Our hope is that this park will bless this community and be a place for families to make memories for decades to come. We thank the city of Gahanna for partnering with us to make this new park a reality.

The property is in the central, west side of Gahanna.

It was an area identified in the 2006 Gahanna Parks & Recreation Master Plan and in the 2015 update of the plan as an underserved area related to park access and recreational offerings.

The congregation had held an open meeting about the property, in which residents expressed concerns about proposed plans for development.

"Through careful budgeting and with painful but necessary reductions in noncore spending, the city is able to have the resources to make a once-in-a-lifetime land purchase such as this one," Stinchcomb said. "We are also grateful to the church for allowing us to pay over a three-year period to make this purchase more affordable with our limited resources. It is my sincere hope this parkland will serve the citizens of Gahanna for generations to come."

City crews will maintain the area and make it accessible for the community to use for outdoor recreation and activities.

As funds become available, the city also is expected to plant trees on the site to enhance the landscape and provide shade.

The city also is expected to host open public forums eventually to work with the neighborhood, the congregation and Gahanna residents to find the best future use and site plan for the acreage.

Funding for park development could come through grants, community partnerships, business community sponsorships and/or local tax dollars.