Thursday March 4, 2021
Mayor: The project will not be done without subsidies
By William Kincaid
CELINA – Almost four years ago, Mayor Jeff Hazel revealed to Rotarians of Grand Lake the dream of moving Lake Shore Drive behind the creek commonly known as the Hot Water Hole.
The benefits of such a move, officials said, would be better public access to the waterfront and improved security.
Now that city officials are ramping up development in the Bryson Park District, some might think now is the perfect time to incorporate the concept alongside the impending installation of play equipment, restrooms, lighting, pickle ball, volleyball and basketball courts and other amenities.
“It can’t happen without a grant,” Hazel replied when asked for an update on the plan on Wednesday. “We are not going to redirect the money for our infrastructure to that. I am not going to take money out of our street program to do this.”
Hazel was quick to point out, however, that officials would likely jump at the prospect 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 block grants program for community development.
“It’s not our top priority, but if we find a grant where it fits… we want to go after that,” Hazel said. “If we found a grant that would pay for it this year from next year, we would probably look to do it.”
Hazel also noted that Lake Shore Drive could be relocated at any time without disrupting major amenities that are expected to increase over the next few years.
If finally the green light was on, the reader would be moved north of the hot water hole and meander through the park. A few years ago, the proposal was estimated to be close to $ 500,000, but the cost has likely increased due to inflation.
In the past, city officials have explained the reasons for changing the route of the road.
Many people use the car to get around the city center and often travel faster than the posted speed limit of 20 mph, City Council Chairman Jason King said at a committee meeting in 2017. He said the Diversion of the road through the park district and the addition of stop signs and crosswalks can cause people to slow down and stop using the road as a shortcut.
“Overall, people are doing pretty well on Lake Shore Drive. But when you have kids around – and the more kids that come here – there’s always more risk of an accident.” , Hazel said Wednesday. “How to make it safer? “
King had also referred to replacing the Hot Water Hole Canal Bridge with a pedestrian / bicycle bridge connected to the promenade along West Bank Road.
Hazel said the current bridge, which is likely 40 to 50 years old, is deteriorating but still has some life. Replacing the structure would easily cost $ 1 million, he said.
So at this point it doesn’t make sense to spend that kind of money if it drops. He still has life. I don’t know the longevity of that, ”Hazel said. “One of the ideas in this regard is certainly to allow the extension of the promenade along the old Lake Shore Drive in this region. This bridge could be used now or replaced with a steel pedestrian bridge over it. “
While the drive’s move could take place in a few years or more, the Bryson Park District is poised for major upgrades in the very near future.
In 2021, authorities plan to install playground equipment, toilets, lighting, pickle balls, volleyball and basketball courts and other amenities. A fitness trail could also take shape next year.
The one-two punch of a delayed $ 500,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and COVID-19 halted 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 start in the spring.
“It will be a great year for this park,” insisted Hazel. “We have our washroom getting ready to go on sale on March 11. We’ve got another great multi-room playground that’s going to connect to the one we have now, to take that even further.”
The city is to provide $ 500,000 for the ODNR’s land and water conservation program. The nomination was the result of a collaboration between representatives of the city, the Grand Lake Rotary Club and the Celina Lions Club.
Officials can meet for work and in-kind projects including restrooms and outdoor multi-purpose facilities offered by the Celina Lions Club for $ 400,000 with shelter, washrooms and concession area for use. all year.
“The majority of this is done with grant funds and donations. We have, of course, some in-kind work going there,” Hazel said. “We make it a great park for the community that really makes us a destination.”