Thursday, March 4, 2021
Mayor: The project will not be done without subsidies
By William Kincaid
CELINA — Nearly four years ago, Mayor Jeff Hazel revealed to Grand Lake Rotarians his dream of moving Lake Shore Drive behind the entrance commonly known as the hot water hole.
The benefits of such a move, officials say, would be better public access to the waterfront and increased security.
Now that city officials are accelerating development of the Bryson Park district, some might think it’s the perfect time to incorporate the concept alongside the impending installation of playground equipment, restrooms, lighting , pickle ball, volleyball and basketball courts and other amenities.
“It can’t happen without a grant,” Hazel replied when asked by the newspaper for an update on the plan on Wednesday. “We’re not going to redirect our infrastructure funds to that. I’m not going to take money out of our street program to do that.”
Hazel was quick to point out, however, that officials would likely jump at the idea of relocating Lake Shore Drive if an applicable grant program opened up. Potential sources could be state or federal grants related to the park or the Community Development Block Grant program.
“It’s not our top priority, but if we find a grant that fits that…we want to go after that,” Hazel said. “If we found a grant that would pay for it this year starting next year, we would probably look into doing it.”
Hazel also noted that Lake Shore Drive could be relocated at any time without disrupting major amenities that are expected to increase in the coming years.
If finally given the go-ahead, the drive would be moved north of the hot water hole and meander through the park. A few years ago, the proposal was set at nearly $500,000, but the cost has likely increased due to inflation.
In the past, city officials have explained the reasons for redirecting the reader.
Many people use the drive to bypass downtown and often travel faster than the posted speed limit of 20 mph, City Council Speaker Jason King said at a committee meeting in 2017. road through the park district and the addition of stop signs and crosswalks could encourage people to slow down and stop using the road as a shortcut, he said.
“Overall, people are doing pretty well on Lake Shore Drive. But when you have kids around — and the more kids that come in — there’s always more chance of an accident,” Hazel said Wednesday. “How to make it safer? »
King had also talked about replacing the hot water hole canal bridge with a pedestrian/cycle bridge connected to the promenade along West Bank Road.
Hazel said the current bridge, which is probably 40 to 50 years old, is deteriorating but still has some life. It would easily cost $1 million to replace the structure, he said.
So at this point, it doesn’t make sense to spend that kind of money on a downside. He still has life. I don’t know the longevity of that,” Hazel said. “One of the ideas for that is definitely to allow the boardwalk to continue through that old Lake Shore boardwalk in that area. This bridge could be used now or replaced with a steel pedestrian bridge above. »
Although relocating the drive may take a few years or more, the Bryson Park District is set to undergo major upgrades in the very near future.
In 2021, officials plan to install playground equipment, restrooms, lighting, pickle ball, volleyball and basketball courts, and other amenities. A health course could also see the light of day next year.
The one-two punch of a delayed $500,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and COVID-19 brought an abrupt end to a series of park improvements planned for 2020.
“COVID really messed us up. We would have done some of that last year, but it really messed up some of the time,” Hazel said.
Work could begin in the spring.
“It’s going to be a great year for this park,” insisted Hazel. “We have our washroom facilities getting ready to be auctioned on March 11. We have another large multi-room playground that’s going to connect to the one we have now, to go even further with that.”
The city is to provide a $500,000 match for the ODNR’s land and water conservation program. The bid was the result of a collaborative effort between representatives of the city, the Rotary Club of Grand Lake and the Celina Lions Club.
Officials can meet through in-kind works and projects, including restrooms and the Celina Lions Club’s proposed $400,000 outdoor multipurpose facility with shelter, restrooms and a concession area for year-round use.
“The majority of all of this is done with grant funds and donations. We, of course, have in-kind work going into it,” Hazel said. “We make it a great park for the community, which really makes us a destination.”