Work is finally underway to replace two Pine Quarry Park pedestrian bridges that were closed in July 2014.

Donna Bauman, director of the Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department, said contractors began improvements the first week of April at Pine Quarry, a 39-acre city park with natural picnic areas and hiking trails.

Entrance to the park is at 8000 Kingsley Drive, where Kingsley Road deadends.

"That main entrance on Kingsley Drive will be closed during construction," Bauman said.

"The parking lot is being utilized as a staging area. Visitors should avoid any areas under construction."

She said replacing the two pedestrian bridges on the walking trails, one near the Kingsley Drive entrance and one near Waggoner Road, is expected to be complete by late spring or early summer.

"Weather restrictions and delivery of the replacement bridges are significant factors for the construction schedule," she said.

Besides replacing the two bridges, some trails and walking paths will be cleared, restored or widened, and retaining walls will be replaced, Bauman said.

New fencing will be constructed and the parking lot resurfaced.

The city began accepting bids in February for the Quarry Park project.

On March 12, Reynoldsburg City Council accepted a bid from Axis Civil Construction for $196,735 for the improvements.

That amount will be offset by a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, expected to be paid soon after the project is complete, Bauman said.

The city also paid $13,505 to EMH&T for construction management and the final bridge inspection, she said.

Mayor Brad McCloud called Quarry Park "a hidden treasure." It is at the end of Kingsley Road and many residents are unaware of it.

"Pine Quarry Park offers a tranquil setting, where one can enjoy birding, hiking or meditation," McCloud said. "It is our hidden treasure, and I am very pleased with the updates taking place."

Bauman said updates to all the city's parks are planned. Many picnic tables, trash receptacles and park benches will be replaced this spring, she said.

"These new park fixtures will give the parks a cohesive look," she said.

The tennis courts at JFK Park are scheduled to be resurfaced and lined, with new nets, poles and a windscreen added.

Bauman said the four courts will be marked and lined for pickleball as well as tennis.

With storm season approaching, safety for spring and summer youth games is important, so Strike Guard lightning warning stations at JFK, Huber, Civic Park and the Livingston House will be installed, Bauman said.

"This system will give warning to the public when lightning has been detected," she said.

The park improvements are possible not only because of the ODNR grant, but because Reynoldsburg taxpayers approved a hike in the city income tax last spring.

"I would like to thank the Reynoldsburg voters for approving the income tax levy, because the levy funds allowed these much-needed improvements throughout our parks," Bauman said.

Reynoldsburg voters approved a levy in May 2017 that increased the city income tax rate from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. It was the first income tax hike in Reynoldsburg since 1983.