Grove City's oldest park will be getting a brand new front door.

Grove City's oldest park will be getting a brand new front door.

That's how Ed Merritt, recreation superintendent, described one of the main improvements in the works for 56-year-old Windsor Park during a recent presentation before city council.

The project, which is to include access to the park off Broadway, as well as additional parking, more trails, some added fields and eventually a new three-season shelter house, will be done at pretty much bargain prices, according to city administrator Philip D. Honsey.

The first phase, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, would include the new entryway, an additional 32 parking spaces, a bike path and drainage.

It was estimated to cost $500,000, according to Mike Keller of the city's engineering consulting firm EMH&T. Bids for the work, however, came in at $350,000, he told council.

The first reading on appropriations for the Windsor Park improvements is scheduled for council's July 6 session.

All existing tennis courts in the park will remain, according to Honsey. An earlier configuration of the new entrance would have removed one.

The new entrance features will include an entry sign with landscape, fencing and columns and an ironwork arch. Street lighting along the new entrance drive won't be installed immediately, but is in the plans, the city administrator indicated.

Other aspects of Windsor Park upgrades are to include a new roof and concrete repairs to the existing shelter house, which dates to 1953. That's expected to cost between $27,000 and $30,000. Improvements to existing fields, including the addition of a scoreboard and a public address system that can be heard throughout the park, would cost another estimated $65,000 to $70,000.

Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage pointed out that the PA system represents a safety issue during storms.

In all, what had been originally budgeted as a $750,000 project is now expected to cost $600,000, according to officials.

The project will eventually add 130 more parking spaces, Merritt said.

He said construction on the first phase should begin in August.

The project is possible due to the addition of just under 10.5 acres of what Honsey said was once called the "airport property" along Broadway last July.

That purchase, which brought the overall size of the park to 36-plus acres, was made from Ward 3 Councilman Larry Corbin, who absented himself from the discussions and the vote on the issue.

The city paid Corbin and his wife, Sue Corbin, $380,000 for the 10.47-acre parcel, after obtaining appraisals that set the value of the land at $450,000.