A vision for the development of community parks in the Beulah Park development, on the south side of Southwest Boulevard and in the Pinnacle development area off Holton Road near Buckeye Woods Elementary School, has been submitted to Grove City.
Representatives of MKSK, the consulting firm assisting the city with developing the conceptual plans for both parks, presented their draft report at the Aug. 5 City Council meeting.
"These are concept plans, and they are basically what we think the parks could include given the overall concept of Beulah Park as a central, multiuse park that could serve not just the residents of the development but the community at large and Pinnacle as more of a nature play area with more trails," said Kim Conrad, the city's parks and recreation director.
The final draft of a concept master plan incorporates public input received at a May 21 community meeting and through an online survey that 705 residents completed, said Arin Blair, MKSK urban planner.
Beulah Park concept
The community's vision for the 29-acre park to be located in the central portion of the Beulah Park development site is "loud and clear," she said.
"Everybody wants this to be the central park of Grove City," Blair said. "A place that brings visitors in, that everybody wants to see and that has a strong connection to downtown."
The concept for the Beulah Park development includes an amphitheater where concerts and other special events could be held, she said. The venue would be relatively simple to install by taking advantage of a sloping grass hill that could offer an area for seating.
"That way, it doesn't look like an empty amphitheater all year round," Blair said. "It would look like a natural place in the park."
The southern portion of the park would include a concentrated play area with separate activity spaces for toddlers, young children and an area with more-challenging features for older children, she said.
A number of residents suggested a splash pad; that element could be "tucked into" the active play area, Blair said. Parking and restrooms would serve both the playground area and the amphitheater, she said.
A shelter with parking, similar to the facility at Gantz Park, would offer spaces that could be rented for family gatherings, weddings and special events, she said.
To the west of the playground space, several courts for activities that could include pickleball, tennis or basketball have been proposed, Blair said.
"That will allow the primary entrance, the whole north side of the park, to be a really passive, quiet, kind of grand beautiful space," she said.
The master plan also calls for a 1-mile trail to loop the perimeter of the park.
The trail could include exercise equipment along the route and markers with storytelling signs detailing the history of the Beulah Park race track, Blair said.
One participant at the community meeting suggested incorporating the original site of the finish line as a component of the park, she said.
It turns out the finish line site is located just outside the park area, Blair said.
The master plan proposes placing a hedge row matching the exact width of the race track with a picnic shelter and tables, she said. Some type of sign or plaque would mark that spot as the start and finish of the 1-mile loop "so you could still have the little kids running to the finish line" as they complete walking the trail, Blair said.
A sign placed at the top of the amphitheater hill could indicate that the site of the track's original finish line is visible from the hill, she said.
If all components are installed, the estimated cost of developing the park would be about $10 million, Blair said.
Pinnacle Park concept
The community's vision for Pinnacle Park was totally different, Blair said.
People want that site to be a passive park, where visitors can connect to nature and to the surrounding neighborhoods via trails, she said.
The city purchased the 33-acre site in 2013 from M/I Homes in the Pinnacle development area with the intention of developing it into parkland. The city agreed to pay $500,000 of the $2 million cost with money from the Pinnacle Tax Increment Fund and deliver a special revenue obligation promissory note to cover the rest.
The proposed features include a boardwalk leading through the wet woods, giving visitors access to viewing the natural setting and a playground that would include nature-themed elements and a picnic shelter, Blair said.
The city could pursue purchasing some of the privately owned farmland adjacent to the park site that could be converted into sports fields, she said.
The estimated cost of developing Pinnacle Park is $5.75 million, Blair said.
With the concept plans in place, the city will move toward developing a more- detailed final plan for the parks, Conrad said.
Some of the elements may evolve or change "as we work through the process and determine what the actual costs may be," she said. "For example, we may decide the shelter that's been suggested for Beulah may not be exactly what we want or the cost may require the concept to be revised."
Although it will take years before the Beulah Park will be fully developed, the city is looking to complete some grading work and at least establish a basic trail around the perimeter of the park site before the end of next year, Conrad said.