The proposed master-plan improvements to Worthington’s McCord Park are taking shape, with an “American Ninja Warrior”-style obstacle course as part of the potential amenities.

The opinions of 150 children and 60 adults reflected a real interest in such equipment at McCord, said Steve Kolwicz, a planner at POD Design, the city’s contractor on the project.

“They all ironically kind of ... pointed in a very similar direction to their preferences as it related to the playground,” Kolwicz told Worthington City Council on March 9. “One theme that came out of the process was an attraction to the idea of something that plays off of the ‘Ninja Warrior’ course ... for a play activity. We’ll call it sort of an obstacle course because the way you’re going to see it is not purely a ‘Ninja Warrior’ kind of a format.”

Council took no action on the matter, but the design presentation was considered an important step in phase 1 of the project being sent for bids by this summer, said Darren Hurley, director of the Worthington Parks and Recreation Department.

McCord Park includes 25 acres, mostly to the north of the Worthington Community Center, 345 E. Wilson Bridge Road.

Council approved a conceptual master plan in 2018 and budgeted $2.8 million for the renovations, although $1 million would come from outside grant-funding sources, Hurley said.

City Manager Matt Greeson suggested officials seek money from the community and businesses that fit with the city’s sponsorship guidelines.

Phase 1 would include such components as landscape and hardscape improvements, playground upgrades, a train-observation deck with a donated caboose and a larger hockey and soccer field, according to the city.

Hurley said phase 1 would cost about $1.2 million. The construction of two reservable shelters and improvements to the community garden could be part of the first phase, depending on bids, he said.

Council would be required to approve the bid process, Hurley said.

He said construction on phase 1 likely would begin in 2021.

Worthington completed a parks master plan in 2017 that identified the renovation of McCord Park as one of its most critical park improvements, according to worthington.org. The plan identified a variety of specific improvements to be considered, including the replacement of the playground, the addition of a circular multiuse trail and replacement of aging restroom facilities, according to the website.

At the completion of the planning process in 2018, council approved the conceptual master plan that identified amenities to be included in the park renovations, according to worthington.org. The design phase is intended to go into more detail on those amenities, the website said.

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