Bexley planning Commonwealth Park improvements

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
Bexley City Hall

The city of Bexley is moving ahead with plans to add new features to Commonwealth Park, an 8-acre site located between North Parkview and North Drexel avenues. 

The enhancements stem from the Commonwealth Park master plan adopted a couple of years ago after a steering committee of local residents spent more than a year studying how to redevelop the park, Mayor Ben Kessler said March 3 during the monthly meeting of the Recreation Board. 

The new features are designed to emphasize Bexley’s status as a city to be recognized as an arboretum, with 14,000 street trees of 131 different varieties, Kessler said.   

“We have hired an arborist dedicated specifically to our arboretum concept, and how do we enhance the Bexley arboretum,” he said. “We toured a variety of arboretums throughout the region and different parks in the area.  

“We had a really interesting process coming up with what will hopefully be the first section of a carefully curated, conscientious arboretum walkway along the perimeter of Commonwealth Park as the master plan called for it.” 

The new features planned include: 

• Creating entry points at the southwest and northwest corners of the park 

• Adding signage with information about the trees and plants in the park 

• Creating a walking path throughout the park 

• Adding plants and annual flowers at each corner of the park and additional trees throughout  

• Adding a water feature and a sculpture 

The plan also calls for the installation of benches to encourage residents to use the park as a gathering place, said architect Elena Andrews, a Bexley resident who chaired the Commonwealth Park master plan steering committee and serves as a consultant for the city’s Tree and Public Gardens Commission. 

“When we started, there was one bench that we ended up having to take out because it was falling apart,” she said. “We’d actually like to have some places where people can actually sit and relax and not necessarily have to sit on the lawn.”  

Kessler said the next steps are to determine the cost of the work and identifying grants and private donations to implement the planned features in phases. 

“We would be going for a fairly substantial grant to help with phase one,” he said. “We happen to know we have donors pretty interested in this project, and we’ve been encouraged by donors to start working on these different phases of the park plan.” 

For information, visit bexley.org/masterplans

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