Grading, landscaping work to begin for park site in Grove City's Beulah Park Living

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group
The rendering of the master plan for the community park in the Beulah Park development shows proposed components that include an amphitheater, a sledding hill, trails and a play area. The master-plan concept was presented in November 2019 by the MKSK planning, urban-design and landscape-architecture firm but was not formally adopted by Grove City Council until March 15, 2021.

The first phase of a project to develop a community park in Grove City's Beulah Park Living development is designed to ensure future components added to the park could be supported.

Work on the first phase, including grading and landscaping, is getting underway and should be completed this year, Grove City Parks and Recreation director Kim Conrad said.

"That work is needed to make the park-area build ready," she said.

The city's 2021 capital-improvements budget includes about $1 million for the grading and landscape work at the park, which will be in the middle of the 212-acre Beulah Park Living development.

The core master plan for the park has not changed from when MKSK presented it in August 2019, Conrad said. MKSK is a Columbus-based consulting firm that worked with the city to develop the plan.

"The concept remains a passive park for the community. It won't be a park with sports fields," she said. "There will be some big open spaces and some walking trails."

The park plan also includes an amphitheater and a sledding hill and a 3.6-acre pond.

Although MKSK had presented the master plan in August 2019, it had never been officially adopted by City Council, Conrad said. Council approved an ordinance to adopt the master plan March 15.

When MKSK presented the initial plan, the firm's estimate for the cost of the improvements was $10.3 million, but that estimate did not include the amphitheater, city administrator Chuck Boso said.

Since then, an estimate for the amphitheater component has been set at $3.5 million, he said.

The largest expenses for the first phase of the project include installing a park and drive area, $228,000; electric service, $100,000; site lighting, $227,000; and landscaping, $349,000, Boso said.

Most of the park site is open space, so there will be "a lot of opportunity" for further discussion about what specific amenities might be added, he said.

One of the biggest issues is the size and scope of the amphitheater, Conrad said.

"We still need to determine what exactly we want there," she said. "Are we looking to have events that would be a regional draw or a community type of amphitheater with smaller events that only draw people from our community?"

Once the initial grading and landscaping work is done, the site will be recognizable and usable as a green space, Conrad said.

"This will also get the infrastructure in place so we know the site will support what components we want to put into it so we don't have to go back to the drawing board at any time," she said. "

Another site that has been earmarked for use as a park or performance space is the old Grove City Library site on Park Street.

Although council had approved initial legislation in November 2019 to preserve the old library site for public use, a final plan for the site remains to be determined, and the city will gather additional public input on the topic.

The city has decided to wait until after the pandemic eases to schedule additional public meetings about the Town Center park, Conrad said.

"That will give us the chance to hold public face-to-face meetings rather than try to do virtual meetings," she said.

About $60,000 has been budgeted this year to do some initial landscaping at the old library site, including placing some picnic tables and benches that people will be able to use, Conrad said.

"It will be a nice spot in the middle of the Town Center to take a break or maybe sit and enjoy a meal from one of the Town Center restaurants," she said.

The old library site is within the Town Center's Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, so people also will be able to bring an alcoholic beverage they've purchased in a DORA cup at a participating establishment to the site, Conrad said.

On March 1, council approved a resolution to rezone additional parcels to the east and south of the old library site so that they will be included as part of the public space.

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