The city of Columbus will make good on its promise to invest $250,000 in recreation and parks in the Westland area.

The city of Columbus will make good on its promise to invest $250,000 in recreation and parks in the Westland area.

Maureen Lorenz of Columbus Recreation and Parks, attending the Nov. 17 meeting of the Westland Area Commission, told members the department still plans to build two soccer fields and a parking area at the corner of Alton Darby Road and West Broad Street.

The project was to have been completed this year, but was put on hold by the city's financial constraints in light of the economic downturn. But with the passage of the city's income-tax increase, enough money has been freed up to be able to allocate funds to build the soccer fields.

"We are looking at March 2011 for those soccer fields," Lorenz said. "We need the input of the parks committee to determine what kind of soccer fields."

The reestablished committee called Friends of Westland Parks met for the first time in a few years Nov. 16 to talk once again about improving recreation and parks opportunities in the Westland Area.

"We need their input before we determine what needs to be built," Lorenz said.

Commission member Mike McKay was skeptical of anything going in at that location because of what he called previous empty promises from the city of Columbus. The proposed location of the soccer fields was where a regional recreation center was to have been built.

"We passed a bond issue in the hopes of getting a recreational center, then we pass a tax increase," McKay said. "What else do we need. After four or five years later we are still waiting."

Lorenz said she recognizes that Columbus residents are not being well served outside of the I-270 outer belt, and that there has got to be a way to create better recreational opportunities.

"I am as frustrated as you are," Lorenz said. "We would like to give Columbus residents what they can get in the suburbs."

Lorenz said the city is seeking grant money to improve and create parks in the area. City-owned land off Galloway Road north of Alkire Road is a potential contender for a $3.3-million grant from Clean Air Ohio, Lorenz said.

"We have no idea how we will fare," she said.

The city is also looking into a partnership with Prairie Township in order to bring more recreational opportunities to the area, Lorenz said.

"The township is interested in partnering with us," she said. "There is also discussion going on with Doctors Hospital for a wellness and fitness center."

Lorenz said the city needs to be more creative when it comes to talking about public and private partnerships.

"We just have to figure out how to share and play nicely together," she said.