The Whitehall Parks and Recreation Commission has scheduled two public work sessions in January to gather input on the department's spending priorities.

The Whitehall Parks and Recreation Commission has scheduled two public work sessions in January to gather input on the department's spending priorities.

"Hopefully, we can get everyone on the same page," Parks and Recreation Director Steve Carr said Nov. 24.

The meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 7 and 21 at Whitehall Community Park, 402 N. Hamilton Road.

The purpose is to discuss spending priorities for the next five years, Carr said, but conversations also are expected to focus on reaching an agreement concerning a proposed splash pad at John Bishop Park and renovations at Whitehall Community Park.

"We want council and the administration (to attend), but also our public stakeholders and residents," Carr said.

City Council members in June passed an ordinance authorizing the issuance of $2.5 million in bonds that, when coupled with $2.5 million cash, would provide $5 million that can be allocated toward renovations at Whitehall Community Park and the construction of a splash pad at Bishop Park.

About $4.25 million is allocated for upgrades and remodeling at Whitehall Community Park and $750,000 for the splash pad, but those allocations are adjustable, said Carr and Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard.

It is possible more money can be used for the splash pad if renovations at Whitehall Community Park are scaled back.

"There are discussions of moving in that direction," Carr said.

Councilman Wes Kantor last month publicly lobbied for the construction of an aquatic center in lieu of the splash pad and renovations to Whitehall Community Park, but acknowledged Nov. 24 there simply is not adequate funding for it.

Cincinnati-based MSA Sports Architects is designing the renovations to Whitehall Community Park as well as the splash pad.

The city had planned to renovate Whitehall Community Park into a state-of-the-art fitness center that would have generated revenue through membership fees but abandoned the concept in August upon learning that a Planet Fitness would open at the Great Eastern Shopping Center.