Public Square Planning Committee Reviews Plans For Waterfront

The Public Square Planning Committee recently reviewed several options for Parker Square (left) and Memorial Park (right), side-by-side parks to be developed along Waterville’s riverfront when the new bridge is complete in 2020. This option shows a restroom facility in the event that a home at 19 School Place is removed. RENDERING COURTESY OF PROUDFOOT ASSOCIATES


BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — For now, the Waterville riverfront is filled with construction equipment. Members of the Public Square Planning Committee, however, envision two side-by-side parks along the river when the new Waterville bridge is complete. During a meeting last month, the committee reviewed a presentation outlining options for Parker Square and Memorial Park. Parker Square, on the former Waterville Elementary School property, is named for the late Mary Ann and Bill Parker, whose family donated $150,000 toward the park project. Plans call for a shared-use path, resurfacing of School Place, metal porch swings and a flagpole with lighting. An observation overlook near the river, with railways to match the new bridge, is one option, but with an estimated price tag of $126,000 to $245,000, it will likely be scaled down. Other options include lighting along the pathways, memorial bronze plaques and chimney sweep towers. The park will definitely contain artifacts from the old Waterville Elementary, which are being held at an undisclosed location, said committee member Phil Enderle. “If we are going to incorporate them, they deserve a nice setting and lighting,” Enderle said. The canon, which for years faced the intersection of River Road and Farnsworth, should be placed close to that same area, committee members agreed. Plans for Memorial Park depend on the future of a 126-year-old home at 19 School Place. The owner, former council member Jim Valtin, is renting out the two-story home. Contacted last week, Valtin said he made an offer to sell the property to the city for its current value, but the city declined. He and his wife purchased the property in 2013 for $63,000, but invested in refurbishing the nearly 1,888-square-foot single-family home, which is zoned for a duplex. He expects the property value to increase when the bridge is complete. “We’re going to keep it there until we determine what to do with the property,” Valtin said. “I want to see how everything comes together.” Proudfoot Associates designed Memorial Park plans for two possibilities. Memorial Park with the home remaining would include a path connecting to the new bridge, concrete walkways, an entrance drive and turnaround, a paved path and canoe storage racks. If the home is removed, Memorial Park would have a building with a restroom, shelter and carillons, a promenade walk with stamped concrete, a water feature and an event stage. All of the benches and memorials at Memorial Park have been removed so they are not damaged during construction. Within the next month, several trees will be removed from behind the old school property, said Public Works Director Kenny Blair and Tree Commission president Laura Nilsson. The remaining trees will serve as a buffer zone for water runoff from the hard surface. The committee includes Mayor Lori Brodie, Barb Bruno, Chuck Larkins, Enderle, Nilsson, Tom Parker, Constance Kreft, Jim Bagdonas, Stefan Faerber, Blair, Jim Stoma, Ed Glowacki of Buehrer Group, Thomas Yurysta of Proudfoot Associates and Jon Zvanovec and Emily Ziegler of Metroparks Toledo. During the next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Waterville council chambers, the committee will look at preparing information for a public presentation this spring. The goal is to get input before further refining plans. “Public input is good. We’ll get a reaction as to whether they are good or bad ideas,” Brodie said.

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