Upper Arlington officials recently approved plans to replace the dugouts at Reed Road Park, the latest in more than $2 million worth of local improvements authorized for 2019.

By next summer's baseball season, the park's Diamond 1 is expected to be outfitted with new dugouts after Upper Arlington City Council's unanimous Oct. 7 approval of a $53,300 contract with Builderscape Inc.

The project caps a year in which the city will spend approximately $2.25 million on parks improvements, also known as capital-improvements projects.

Other projects council approved this year included a $225,000 playground replacement at Reed Road Park, 3855 Reed Road, that is expected to be completed by next spring.

The city also wrapped up projects this year that were approved by council in 2018, highlighted by the Devon Pool bathhouse replacement and the Westover Park playground replacement.

Upper Arlington Parks & Recreation Department director Debbie McLaughlin said Oct. 25 the city would provide final expenses for those two projects sometime this week. This past June, she said, the bathhouse project cost approximately $1.28 million.

The Westover Park playground was replaced at a reported cost of $165,000 in the spring. However, council approved a new $55,000 contract Sept. 23 to replace some of that new equipment with features more suitable for children ages 2 to 5.

"The 2018 parks and recreation comprehensive plan identified areas for park improvement, which were categorized as critical, sustainable and visionary," McLaughlin said. "We are balancing our approach in addressing these levels of needs throughout our park system."

This year's parks and recreation capital-improvements program represented about one-third of the department's approximately $7.12 million budget.

In 2018, the city spent approximately $2.78 million on capital-improvements projects in its parks. That was about 37% of the parks and recreation department's roughly $7.56 million budget that year.

Project schedules are subject to change, based on needs that come up each year resulting from regular inspections of fields and facilities.

As of Oct. 25, McLaughlin identified five projects totaling approximately $2.45 million that are scheduled to take place next year.

They include a $1.3 million replacement of Devon Pool's mechanical building and concrete deck; $750,000 for upgrades to Northam Park's athletics and tennis facilities; a $225,000 project to widen Northam Park's shared-use path from 4 feet to 8 feet; a $350,000 playground replacement at Miller Park; and a $50,000 contribution to an estimated $300,000 public-private project to upgrade Veterans Plaza at Mallway Park.

"The 2020 (parks and recreation budget) is the second year of the two-year budget," McLaughlin said. "Each fall, adjustments are requested for council approval."

As for the upcoming dugout project at Reed Road Park, it was precipitated by deteriorating conditions of the structures, said parks planning and development manager Jeff Anderson.

In an Oct. 7 staff report to council, Anderson noted the city also is looking into drainage improvements at the park, but officials decided to postpone that work while an overall assessment of parks athletics field priorities is done.

"The condition of the existing dugouts warrant replacement at this time," Anderson's staff report said. "This replacement will not impact future drainage improvements."

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