The four entities developing the Rocky Fork Metro Park in northern Plain Township recently amended their agreement to speed up the park's development.

The four entities developing the Rocky Fork Metro Park in northern Plain Township recently amended their agreement to speed up the park's development.

John O'Meara, director of Metro Parks, said Plain Township and Metro Parks amended the agreement two weeks ago and Columbus and New Albany approved amendments last week.

He said Columbus, New Albany and Metro Parks committed another $250,000 each year for five years and Plain Township committed $50,000 each year for five years.

Columbus City Council and New Albany City Council designated the funds for land acquisition, Plain Township designated funds for park development and Metro Parks' funds can be used for either, O'Meara said.

New Albany is committing money from the city's capital improvements fund, New Albany City Manager Joe Stefanov said.

Trustee Dave Olmstead said Plain Township is using money from the general fund.

Olmstead, who spoke to New Albany City Council May 21, said the township wants to see the land developed.

"One of the interests the township trustees have is to see the pace of development of the facility there accelerated some," he said.

Metro Parks has acquired 909 acres for the park, north of Walnut Street between Schott and Bevelhymer roads, but the land is not contiguous, O'Meara said.

Stefanov said May 21 that city officials hope Metro Parks will be able to purchase land that separates the park.

O'Meara said some land is for sale that could help Metro Parks connect the pieces it now owns.

In 2011, Metro Parks held public meetings at the Plain Township fire station and developed a park plan. It included picnic areas, horseback-riding trails, walking paths, educational areas, preservation zones and habitat restoration. Existing natural features, such as the headwaters of the Rocky Fork Creek, would be preserved.

O'Meara said parking lots and trails could be developed first, followed by "educational elements and other amenities."

He said the amended agreement requires Metro Parks to be in contract for improvements by the end of 2014.

O'Meara said the original goal was to acquire 1,200 acres for the park but he said development could begin before that much property is acquired.

The original agreement was signed by New Albany, Plain Township, Columbus and Metro Parks in December 2005 and updated in February 2008.

The project has been funded with $13 million in commitments from Columbus, New Albany and Plain Township.