As the city of Canal Winchester continues to look for ways to fund the 90-acre multipurpose McGill Park, it hopes to score as much as $500,000 from available federal land and conservation funds.

The funding would come from the National Park Service through a program that benefits local government entities, such as villages, counties, park districts and cities.

The program provides up to 50 percent reimbursement assistance and has awarded more than $152 million to projects in Ohio since its inception in 1965, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which is accepting grant applications until Nov. 15.

"We're looking at a $2 million project for the initial development of the park," Canal Winchester Public Works Director Matt Peoples said. "We're trying to get the main roadway in there with some parking. There will be four soccer fields with that, along with a shelter house and a large nature play area."

The city also has been seeking partnerships with local businesses and individuals, with partial funding coming through sponsorships and naming rights, according to Peoples.

More grants could become available, too.

"We're going to try and parlay another grant along with (land and conservation funds), but I don't have all the details on that yet," Peoples said.

Crews have been clearing the land of trees and brush along Lithopolis-Winchester Road to make way for the park, named after Kathleen McGill, who sold her property to the city for more than $775,000 in 2017.

The city has been working with OHM Advisors, a Columbus firm that provides architecture, engineering and planning services, to develop a guide for the future of its parks system over the next decade. OHM surveyed more than 1,000 park-users and residents earlier this year, and a multipurpose park was their top request.

The complete plan includes seven full-size soccer fields, three half-size soccer fields plus baseball and softball fields.

"We're just going to focus on the front area of the park with this grant," Peoples said. "So it will delay seeding on the soccer fields. ... It looks like now it might be 2021 before those fields are ready."

The plan for McGill Park is to devise short-, medium- and long-term goals for developing the space, he said.

A site layout map initially prepared by OHM Advisors as part of the city's parks master plan proposed developing McGill Park in three phases:

* The first phase would include construction of a dog park, a pedestrian bridge, a creek trail and overlook, an asphalt multiuse trail, baseball fields and shelter, event space/shelter, a maintenance building, a playground, a parking area with 227 spaces, a parking drop-off area, a restroom/concession facility, tennis/pickleball courts, soccer fields and an additional parking spur with 146 spaces.

* Phase 2 would include a vehicular bridge, secondary parking with 209 spaces, a parking drop-off, a kayak/canoe launch, another multiuse asphalt trail, a creek overlook, shelter, maintenance building, baseball field and practice field and soccer fields.

* Phase 3 plans call for an extended entry drive into the park, an event center and overlook, space for secondary events and an outdoor amphitheater. The centerpiece of McGill Park would be an event center and amphitheater for weddings and other gatherings.