Worthington officials are moving forward with plans to renovate McCord Park, 333 E. Wilson Bridge Road, after choosing a designer and allocating money to pay for it.

Darren Hurley, director of Worthington Parks and Recreation Department, said the department has interviewed consultants and has chosen POD Design, a Columbus landscaping firm.

Worthington spokesperson Anne Brown said POD Design is expected to launch the project at the Worthington Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Aug. 20. Brown said the firm was hired and its contract will go into effect Aug. 7.

Worthington City Council on July 15 voted 7-0 to approve moving $315,150 from the 2019 capital-improvements budget to pay for the design. City Manager Matt Greeson said the park renovations were included in the 2019 capital-improvements plan.

Brown said McCord Park improvements are budgeted at $450,000 for 2019 and $400,000 for 2020, for a total of $850,000.

"It's exciting that we are moving ahead with McCord Park," Hurley said.

Hurley said the allocation would move the design process forward, and the fee would include construction support and documents, as well as several steps of the design process.

"It takes us from the conceptual design into the more detailed design phase," he said.

According to the park master plan on worthington.org, some of the renovations that would be made to McCord Park include replacing the playground and adding a circular walking path that would connect the park to the Worthington Community Center, a better layout for the sports fields, half a basketball court adjacent to the playground, a railroad observation deck in a donated caboose and functional and aesthetic improvements to the maintenance facility.

Brown said the city would seek public feedback and complete a concept revision in the fall. She said final concepts for the project tentatively are scheduled to be presented to the parks and recreation commission by November and City Council in December.

She said a construction timeline has yet to be determined because additional funding is needed for the project.

Hurley said the project currently has a $2.8 million construction price, with a 10 percent contingency. Brown said a contingency is an amount appropriated over an agreed contract price to account for any unforeseen expenses during the course of a project.

Hurley said the price tag is more than the $850,000 in the capital-improvements budget for the park's renovations and design.

"We feel like that figure is very conservative on the city's part," he said.

Hurley said when city officials have a better idea of how much everything will cost, they would return to City Council to let it decide the budget.

Brown said the city could apply for funding from the state.

"We are exploring other options and opportunities for additional funding," she said.

Scott Myers asked if it was a project that could be completed in phases.

After the plans are further finalized, Hurley said, city officials would ask City Council to set the budget and make other decisions on the plan, including whether it could be done in phases.

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