The city of Columbus has closed on a deal to buy the former Ohio State “sheep farm” property near the university’s Don Scott Field in northwest Columbus and will take possession Dec. 31.

“Needless to say, we’re ecstatic,” said Roy Wentzel, a member of the Northwest Civic Association board of trustees who also is co-chairman of the group’s Sheep Farm, Parks & Recreation Committee.

The association has be working to preserve the land as green space.

“It means that we are going to have a community park in northwest Columbus that we have been advocating for two years,” Wentzel said.

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department officials said they plan to use most of the property as parkland and open space.

The city agreed to buy the nearly 58-acre parcel at 2425 W. Case Road for $5.2 million. Columbus officials initially had planned to sell 34 acres to Upper Arlington, which wanted that space for its own park, but Columbus residents objected and the city abandoned that plan.

Recreation and parks officials have no specific plans for the space, but it could get a playground and a trail, said Brian Hoyt, parks spokesman.

The parcel is bordered to the east by Slate Run and the Dublin school district’s Wright Elementary School, 2335 W. Case Road. The city still plans to sell 15 acres to Dublin City Schools.

Wentzel recently wrote a letter to Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, Columbus Foundation president and CEO Doug Kridler and officials at the YMCA and Columbus Metropolitan Library suggesting that a library branch and community center be built on the site.

Hoyt, however, said Columbus’ nearby Carriage Place Community Center already serves the area.

The city had delayed closing on the property so Ohio State could clean contaminants from the site. The work is expected to cost less than $20,000, Ohio State spokesman Dan Hedman said in an email.

A groundwater sample taken from an underground storage tank cavity found concentrations of lead exceeding drinking water standards.

Another sample contained concentrations of benzene, ethylbenzene and napthalene that were above the state’s Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations standards for drinking water. A soil sample also contained concentrations of benzene and naphthalene above those standards.

Exposure to lead can affect development of the brain and nervous system in young children. Benzene is a carcinogen.

In 1994, the university removed and remediated underground gasoline storage tanks on the site, Hedman said.

As part of the due diligence process of the land sale, Ohio State hired an independent third party to conduct additional soil and groundwater investigation in the same area, he said. The investigation confirmed previous findings that there was no contamination above regulatory levels.

mferench@dispatch.com

@MarkFerenchik