Canal Winchester City Council OKs contract for first phase of McGill Park

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Mike Ebert

Construction is set to begin on the three-phase McGill Park, four years after Canal Winchester purchased land along Lithopolis-Winchester Road to build a 90-acre multipurpose facility.  

City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance during its May 3 meeting authorizing Mayor Mike Ebert to contract with New Philadelphia-based Tucson Inc. for $2.76 million to complete the first phase of the project, which includes a main access drive, parking lots, four soccer fields, a shelter building and a natural playground area. 

Because the legislation was passed as an emergency, there will be no second and third readings of the ordinance and the usual 30-day delay before the ordinance takes effect will be waived. 

“The contractor is very anxious to get started, which is good because we’re up against some timelines to get the turf seeded this year,” city Construction Services Administrator Bill Sims told council. “Our expectation is to have a preconstruction meeting in about three weeks. We will be getting going pretty quickly.” 

Six companies submitted bids, with Tucson being “the lowest and best,” according to OHM Advisors, which reviews such bids for the city. 

Other public bids came from Facemyer Co. ($2.79 million); Altman Co. ($2.84 million); Trucco Construction Co. ($2.93 million); and Kelchner ($3.04 million). Setterlin withdrew its bid, Sims said. 

While it’s the company’s first contract with Canal Winchester, Sims said Tucson has “good experience with other county agencies” in park development and has done “very similar projects.” 

Construction recently began on a trail connecting McGill Park to an area along Walnut Creek, to Washington Street and to the Bergstresser covered bridge, with completion set for Oct. 30, Sims has said. 

The trail will be nearly a mile long and 10 feet wide, with new bridge crossings at Washington Street and Ashbrook Road, leading from the covered bridge at Washington Street and Ashbrook Road to McGill Park. 

Council unanimously approved an ordinance April 5 allowing the mayor to contract with Facemyer Co. for $676,522 to complete the trail project. 

Last year, the city received word from the state that it would receive a $450,000 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant for the connector trail. 

The city also has received a $500,000 federal land and conservation grant from the National Park Service and $502,510 in public donations to help pay for park construction, city Finance Director Amanda Jackson has said. 

Jackson expects the city will need to borrow $1.472 million to complete the first phase. 

On April 19, council authorized issuing up to $3 million in bonds to complete the first phase of McGill Park. That legislation also was approved as an emergency. 

The complete McGill Park plan, which has been estimated to cost upward of $6 million, calls for seven full-size soccer fields and three half-size soccer fields, plus baseball and softball fields. 

A three-season pavilion also is part of the site layout prepared by OHM Advisors, which developed a guide for the future of Canal Winchester’s parks system. 

The company gathered information from 1,000 park users and residents, held several working-group meetings, conducted site assessments, interviewed stakeholders and administered online and print surveys. The top request to emerge from the process was for a multipurpose park. 

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