Upper Arlington will add Handley property to Fancyburg Park
City officials are eyeing upgrades in 2024 to Fancyburg Park that will include nearly a half-acre expansion on its southeast side.
On Nov. 23, Upper Arlington City Council unanimously approved the $650,000 purchase of a three-story house at 3333 Kioka Ave. and its affiliated 0.49 acres from current owner Anne Evelyn Handley.
According to a city staff report, the property was on the market for $899,000, but Handley sold it at the reduced price with the agreement that it would be incorporated into Fancyburg Park, 3375 Kioka Ave.
Additionally, city officials agreed a future shelter house at the park would be named after Handley’s late husband, Carlyle Handley, who was known for coaching local youth football, volunteering with local Cub Scouts and building July Fourth parade floats for his neighborhood. He was grand marshal of the Upper Arlington Civic Association’s July 4 parade in 2005.
“Any time we get an opportunity to add to our park space, it’s a good thing,” council Vice President Brendan King said. “This certainly is one of those situations where if we didn’t jump on it now, who knows if we’d ever be able to get this piece of land?
“I think it will be just a nice addition to an already pretty nice park.”
Anne Evelyn Handley did not speak before council at the time the property purchase was approved and declined through city officials to comment on the sale.
Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Director Debbie McLaughlin said the Handley property will be incorporated into the park after the 3,600-square-foot house is demolished.
“During the 2018 (Parks and Recreation Department) comprehensive plan, it was identified that in a few years, several amenities should be replaced,” McLaughlin said. “These include the shelter and playground. Shuffleboard courts are not utilized and are deteriorating.”
McLaughlin said the city will provide a series of opportunities for residents to weigh in on the redevelopment before a project is designed sometime in 2023.
In addition to replacing the shelter and playground, Parks and Recreation Department staff members are considering constructing pickleball courts in place of the shuffleboard facilities and the construction of year-round restrooms.
A city-owned farmhouse and garage on the park’s northeast edge, used for storage and event staging, could be removed.
“The acquisition of this (Handley) property adds acreage to the park and gives the city ownership of the full block,” McLaughlin said. “Having this property in the beginning stages of design allows us to consider options of relocating existing services and work with park neighbors on their desires for park amenities.”
Fancyburg is a 25-acre park that includes two ball diamonds, a playground, eight shuffleboard courts, a shelter house, four tennis courts and seasonal restrooms.
The city purchased the land for the park in 1973.
According to McLaughlin, the city intends to demolish the Handley house because it’s “really not designed for any type of public use.”
“That value is the land,” McLaughlin said. “In 2023, we plan a redesign of the entire eastern edge of the park. We don’t have preconceived ideas of what it will be. This acreage really helps us be creative and be able to respond to the interests of residents for the park.”
McLaughlin said Upper Arlington has budgeted $1.45 million for the three phases of renovations.
“Since we have not designed the shelter, we do not have a specific cost,” she said.