Come springtime, C. Ray Buck Sports Park will have more stories to tell than just those of athletic prowess.
The city of Grandview Heights has approved a project that will be coordinated by the Grandview Heights Public Library Foundation to install a series of 18 pedestal signs along the walking path that encircles the park and its athletics fields at 1280 Goodale Blvd.
Each sign will feature two pages from a fiction or nonfiction children's picture book, said Eileen McNeil, the library's director of patron services.
"As they walk along the path, going from station to station, children will be able to read the complete picture book or have their parents read it to them," she said.
The standard length of a picture book is 32 pages, allowing a complete book to be included in the 18 stations along the path, McNeil said.
"We will probably use the last few stations to post notices promoting events the library and city will be holding," she said.
The current plan is for the featured book to change every six to eight weeks, McNeil said.
"We'll have a mix of fiction and nonfiction books for children and will probably include some seasonal titles during certain times of the year, like during Halloween and Christmas," she said.
The library foundation will provide most of the funds for the project and the library will be responsible for setting up and maintaining the story walk, McNeil said.
The cost includes purchasing the pedestal signs through vendor Barking Dog Exhibits and hiring Hickman Lawn Care of Grove City to install them, she said.
The total cost is expected to be under $10,000 and will include the purchase of two copies of each featured book, McNeil said.
"We'll need two copies so we can display the front and back of each page," she said.
The Northwest Kiwanis club will provide some funds for the project, although the amount has yet to be finalized, McNeil said.
The club provided funding for the concession stand at Buck Park.
"The city will not be responsible for any of the cost or maintenance of the path," McNeil said.
The installation is expected to take place in spring 2020, she said.
"Buck Park is the ideal location for a project like this with the circular path around the perimeter of the park," McNeil said. "It's a park that a lot of families visit and the story walk will give young kids something to do while their older siblings are participating in a softball or baseball game."
The stations will include additional questions or activities for children to complete as they make their way along the path reading the book, McNeil said.
"It might be asking them how many words can they find on the sign that start with a particular letter, or if they can spot a leaf that is similar to the one pictured on the page," she said.
Grandview Mayor Ray DeGraw said he is excited about the project.
"A good idea is a good idea, and this is a great idea," he said. "I've seen a similar concept tried in other cities. It just creates a way to interest people in moving around a trail and get families out and about and having fun."
The story walk will be a way "to offer some healthy exercise combined with promoting literacy and giving parents and children an activity they can do together," McNeil said.
The project is another example of the city working with the library and/or Grandview Heights Schools on an amenity that benefits the entire community, DeGraw said.
"The library foundation provided the initial financial contribution that enabled us to offer Wi-Fi service in our parks," he said."