Work on nature-inspired Johnston-McVay Park keeps steady pace

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
This hawk play structure is one of the nature-inspired features being built at the Johnston-McVay Park, 480 S. Hempstead Road. The park is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

Westerville's Johnston-McVay Park, 480 S. Hempstead Road, is taking shape, with its completion expected by the end of the year.

Christa Dickey, the city's community-affairs director, said the 6.64-acre park would have two custom playgrounds areas, a 15-car parking lot, a realigned entry drive, a trail loop, an enhanced stream wetland edge and a restroom facility.

She said the signature structures include a one-of-a-kind hawk sitting near her nest overlooking the park stream and a custom butterfly near the stream wetland enhancement.

The playgrounds have been installed, but they are missing their curbs and surfacing, Dickey said.

She said the box culvert has been installed, and paving will be completed next.

The site is near McVay Elementary School, 270 Hempstead Road.

Laura Ball, Westerville parks and facilities development administrator, said the city awarded the construction-services contract to S.E.T. Inc. in the amount of $1,505,194 on Feb. 4.

She said the park is a 2020 city capital-improvement project.

The city purchased the 6.64-acre property in May 2016 for $850,750, according to Ball.

POD Design LLC, a Columbus landscape-architecture firm, designed the park, she said.

The park site is on property that was owned by Morris and Dorothy McVay, who were local business owners in Westerville.

The Westerville Parks & Recreation master plan (Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, or PROS) that helps guide planning and investment long called for a park to serve the neighborhoods on the southeast area of town, according to the city's website.

When the property became available, the city acquired it and began to fulfill that vision.

Starting with a series of public meetings last year, conceptual plans were developed based on resident feedback.

The design was developed to pay homage to McVay family members, who were deeply philanthropic and loved nature, according to the website.

Ball said part of the creek edge is being re-graded, allowing wetland vegetation to grow so park visitors can interact with the creek, similar to what the city had done at Millstone Park and the Highlands Park wetlands.

In addition to the park improvement project, Dickey said, the city is partnering with the Westerville Public Library to provide a story that will be illustrated page by page along the trail.

mkuhlman@thisweknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla