A new walking path around North Olmsted Community Park and the city’s first pocket park in the Butternut Ridge Historic District could be in place by the end of the year.
The walking path would be 1.25 miles around the perimeter of the park. It would connect park features including fields, playgrounds and the pavilion areas, as well as the memorial benches recently installed by city parks and recreation staff. It will be paid for with a $100,000 grant from Cuyahoga County, with the city paying the administrative costs of $11,825. North Olmsted applied for the funds last fall.
“It will serve our seniors visiting the senior center and all who want to get out and walk or run for fitness or just to enjoy nature,” said Planning and Development Director Kim Lieber, who checked the route for the path last week along with Recreation Commissioner Betsy Drenski and City engineer Pete DiFranco.
“We all left excited and with the feeling that the park was meant to have this path,” Lieber said, adding that it will support community goals for health and wellness by removing physical and financial barriers to fitness.
City Councilman Pat Kelly, chairman of the Recreation Committee, said the path is a good investment.
“We need to have a good range of resources available for fitness,” Kelly said. “Using the path is something all people young and old can do on their own without needing a lot of equipment.”
Council is scheduled to consider approval of the path and the pocket park at its June 16 meeting. If approved, the projects would go out for bid in July. Construction would begin in late summer or early fall and be complete by the end of the year.
The pocket park would be on a quarter-acre of land on Butternut Ridge Road donated to the city by the North Olmsted Kiwanis in the spring of 2019. It will have historical signage, art, landscaping and seating but no playground equipment, Lieber said.
North Olmsted will use a $50,000 grant from Cuyahoga County for the project, plus $10,000 in donations for public arts and administrative costs. Kelly initially opposed the project if the city had to spend any money.
“I couldn’t see spending any money from the city budget when we have residents who are having a hard time financially and we had layoffs and furloughs in the city,” Kelly said.
However, Lieber was able to get $10,000 in donations from Friends of North Olmsted Parks & Recreation, the Kiwanis Club and Community Council and some anonymous individual donations, she said. Kelly said Friday he will support the project.
Councilman Duane Limpert said the city should take advantage of the grants.
“Sometimes opportunities come at inconvenient times and you have to find ways to take advantage of them, like we are now with the grants,” Limpert said.
North Olmsted Community Council donated $500 toward each park project. Vice President Dave Furin said many people will use the walking path and that the council agreed to shift $500 that hadn’t been spent for Christmas decorations toward the pocket park project
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