Mansfield residents invited to speak out on park priorities


The city’s parks department held the first of two meetings on Wednesday to gather feedback from residents on aspects of its master plan must be implemented first.

“As funds become available, we want to put together a list of things the community wants to see done,” said Mark Abrams, director of the parks department. “We want to try to start prioritizing some of these things so that the citizens can actually see that we are doing something other than mowing the grass or chasing the garbage.”

Released to the public in April 2020, the departmental master plan recommends over $ 29 million in improvements, including, but not limited to, a new swimming pool in Liberty Park, a skate park in Prospect Park, and a ninja warrior course in North Lake Park.

Some aspects of the plan have already been implemented, such as the pickleball courts at Burton Park, which have been successful.

Other aspects are in progress.

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New playground equipment coming in the next month

Abrams said Wednesday that playground equipment will be replaced at Burton and Redwood Parks over the next month.

New playground equipment that has been recently installed or needs to be installed is ADA compliant, according to Abrams.

"As funds become available, we want to put together a list of things the community wants to see done," says Mark Abrams, director of the parks department.

Wednesday’s contribution session – held at the Burton Park pavilion – focused on the parks on the south side.

A second meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at North Lake Park, 236 Hope Ave., and will focus on northern parks. For more information, call the parks office at 419-522-9801.

The Departmental Master Plan represents the next step in the city’s efforts to improve and revitalize a parks system that suffered while Mansfield was in a tax emergency and there was no proper parks department. speak.

Last year, the Council accepted transfer 10 parks, including the closed Linden Pool, at the Richland County Land Bank.

Abrams said at the time that, based on usage surveys, Betzstone, Buckeye, Dewey and Vine Field, Hamilton, Harvard, Julia Underhill, Linden Circle, Newman, Ritters Run and Sherman Estate parks were the less used on what was then nearly three dozen. .

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By reducing that number, Abrams said, his department – which receives $ 816,000 a year in income tax from the PRIDE quarter percent – would be able to reduce the time and money associated with mowing, the maintenance and upgrading of the 10 aforementioned parks.

The Parks Department reopened in 2014 after the state auditor released Mansfield from the budget emergency. It employs eight full-time workers, five of whom are responsible for maintenance.

Residents ask questions about trash and waste

A problem common to most of the city’s parks is inadequate lighting, according to Abrams. “Lighting is a huge problem in all of our parks,” he said.

Residents who attended Wednesday’s meeting expressed concern about trash and waste.

“It’s something we’ve tried to improve, but it’s just a colossal undertaking,” said Abrams, adding that volunteers are welcome.

The master plan, among other things, calls for a pedestrian / bike path that would link Maple Lake Park, South Park, Middle Park and North Lake Park, according to Abrams.

“You will be able to cycle from Bellville to Maple Lake Park,” said Abrams, referring to the B&O trail. “This is the ultimate goal.”

The Parks Department's master plan recommends removing Liberty Park's secluded municipal swimming pool and building a new one.

The plan also suggests the construction of a skate park at Prospect Park.

At least two people in the audience of about two dozen have expressed strong opposition to the proposed location.

“I’ll tell you right now. A lot of us who live in this area and this neighborhood are strongly opposed to a skate park,” said one woman.

Abrams said there is no discussion of building a skate park at this time.

“As it stands, the money in my budget would not allow building a skate park,” he added.

The Prospect pavilion will be replaced by an open-air structure

In a recent development, Abrams said the Prospect Park pavilion was demolished because its basement walls started to buckle.

A 60-foot by 40-foot open-air pavilion will eventually take its place, according to Abrams.

Abrams said that in the future he would like to hold regular public consultation sessions, perhaps quarterly.

“I’m going to be honest with you. This is something that we have failed to do and it is something that we really need to do more of,” Abrams said.

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Twitter: @monroetrombly

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