The city of Columbus no longer plans to sell 34 acres across from Don Scott Field to Upper Arlington for the proposed development of a youth athletics field complex.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the buyer for 15 acres at 2425 W. Case Road.

The city of Columbus no longer plans to sell 34 acres across from Don Scott Field to Upper Arlington for the proposed development of a youth athletics field complex.

Columbus officials announced Oct. 22 they are moving forward with plans to sell to the Dublin City Schools 15 acres at 2425 W. Case Road in northwest Columbus, part of what is known as the Ohio State University sheep farm. The deal to sell another parcel more than twice that size to Upper Arlington is dead.

“We are no longer pursuing the sale of the 34 acres to Upper Arlington,” said Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “Our department of recreation and parks had outreach to the community and they expressed a number of concerns.

“We felt at this time that going forward with that relationship – Upper Arlington – wasn’t going to work for us. We continue to look at it as a park space, not a commercial space.”

Upper Arlington City Council had been prepared to hear a second reading of legislation on Monday, Oct. 22, to purchase the land for $3.15 million, and to ultimately construct baseball and softball diamonds on the site, plus a field for football, lacrosse and soccer. However, the item was pulled from the agenda prior to the meeting.

A third reading to approve the purchase was slated for Nov. 19, but that won’t take place now.

“The discussions with (Columbus) will not continue,” Upper Arlington City Council President Kip Greenhill said.

Greenhill said there are no current plans for Upper Arlington to negotiate the purchase of a smaller portion of the sheep farm land.

“That chapter’s closed as far as Upper Arlington’s participation in it, as far as Columbus has told us,” he said. “They’re withdrawing from the discussions.”

The proposed sale had been opposed by a number of Northwest Columbus residents, who told officials in Columbus and Upper Arlington they wanted Columbus to buy the land to keep it out of the hands of developers.

"We don't want their sports fields in our parks," Columbus resident Roy Wentzel told Columbus City Council in September. "The citizens of northwest Columbus would be appalled and insulted if this happens."

According to Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Director Debbie McLaughlin, Upper Arlington was interested in the land because it doesn't have enough fields for sports that serve 5,000 Upper Arlington youths each year, and because the city is landlocked and has no available space to develop an athletics complex.

She told Upper Arlington City Council Oct. 8 the proposed purchase price equated to $91,228 per acre, adding that was "much lower" than current land costs in Upper Arlington, which she said can be up to $1 million per acre, depending on location.

Upper Arlington had planned to finance the acquisition by issuing bonds that would be paid off over 20 to 30 years, she said, in addition to using $450,000 from a 2016 sale of property on Upper Chelsea Road.

In a letter sent to Northwest Columbus residents Oct. 22, Columbus Parks and Recreation Director Tony Collins confirmed the deal with Upper Arlington was no longer being pursued.

“With a long-term and phased approach, (the) Columbus Recreation and Parks Department will work with community members from the northwest community regarding future development of the park space,” the letter stated. “Part of our work is to grow smart.

“This smart growth will forever include collaboration and partnership from the community we serve. We are incredibly thankful for the input we’ve received over the last few months and look forward to celebrating the purchase of much needed parkland for Columbus residents.”

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