The Parks & Recreation Department provides a variety of athletic programs to the community, in most cases through partnerships with community sports organizations. It has long been recognized that Upper Arlington’s park space is limited and demand for sports fields outweighs the available space. The City has an opportunity to partner with the City of Columbus and Dublin City Schools to develop a 57.7-acre park that would meet a variety of needs for our respective communities. This land, located on Case Road, is just over one mile from Upper Arlington’s northernmost border.
As proposed, the City of Columbus would purchase the property at the end of October 2018 and would rezone it for park and/or schools use. By the close of 2018, Upper Arlington would purchase approximately 34 acres of the property for development as a sports field complex, Dublin Schools would purchase 15 acres to be held for future use, and the City of Columbus would retain the remaining acreage for neighborhood park activities such as a playground, shelter and walking paths. The property would be developed as one park, with all members of the public (from any community) able to enjoy its facilities. When not in use for sports activities, the fields would provide ample open space for walking and other passive park activities.
While this proposal represents a unique opportunity for the City to address a significant need for the youth sports community and provide for enhanced passive recreational uses in our existing parks, it also represents a significant financial investment. City Council would greatly appreciate hearing from the community as it deliberates on this important issue. See below for opportunities to participate on this important issue.
- Council Conference Session: October 1. A presentation was made by Parks & Recreation Director McLaughlin. See Associated Documents below to view the presentation.
- City Council Meeting–First Reading: 7:30 pm, Monday, October 8, 3600 Tremont Road. First Reading, Public Hearing. Public comments are encouraged.
- Parks & Recreation Advisory Board: 6:30 pm, Wednesday October 10, 3600 Tremont Road. Public comments are encouraged.
- City Council Meeting: 7:30 pm, Monday, October 22, 3600 Tremont Road. Staff will provide an update on the project, with opportunity for public comments.
- Council Conference Session: 7:30 pm, Monday, November 19, 3600 Tremont Road. Second Reading, Public Hearing, Council Vote. Public comments are encouraged.
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City Council would greatly appreciate hearing from the community as it deliberates on this important issue. We encourage you to participate by attending the City Council meetings or by sending an email to City.Council@uaoh.net. If you have questions, please contact our Parks & Recreation Department at 614-583-5300.
As a landlocked, built out community, few opportunities exist for expanding park space within Upper Arlington’s borders. The 2007 Parks & Recreation Strategic Plan and the findings of the current Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan process both confirm these challenges. They also identify similar solutions of seeking partnerships with other jurisdictions or opportunities to acquire land for the purposes of developing sports fields. The Case Road property provides a unique opportunity to acquire significant acreage for the development of several sports fields, which in turn would allow the City to preserve the neighborhood feel within our existing parks and to offer more passive and natural recreational opportunities.
A preliminary schematic for the park indicates the site could accommodate four ball diamonds, three full-size sports fields and six smaller sports fields. Upper Arlington would lead the design and development for the sports fields and Columbus’ portion of the site, in partnership with the City of Columbus. The two entities would develop shared-use and maintenance agreements, with priority given to Upper Arlington recreation programs and sports organizations. The design process would include public engagement opportunities prior to presenting a final design and details of operating costs and revenue potential to Upper Arlington City Council.
This acquisition would greatly relieve the pressure on existing sports fields and allow several UA sports leagues to consolidate their operations into one convenient location, it would provide access to adequate equipment storage, as well as ample parking and other park amenities. Improvements would continue to take place in all Upper Arlington City parks through routine maintenance and the City’s Capital Improvement Program including; improving drainage, upgrading dugouts and the addition of year-round restrooms for park users in the late-fall and early-spring seasons.
While this proposal represents a unique opportunity for the City to address a significant need for the youth sports community while providing for enhanced passive recreational uses in our existing parks, it also represents a significant financial investment. The purchase price for Upper Arlington’s share of the property would be approximately $3.1 million ($91,228 per acre). Development estimates average $118,000 per acre based on the number and type of amenities included within the park. Development of the park would likely be implemented in phases, with traditional level amenities constructed initially, to be upgraded in the future as funds come available. Funding strategies would include seeking grant funds, private funding sources and identifying options with sports organizations.
The City is currently working with the leaders of Upper Arlington’s sports organizations on the potential use of the new sports fields. All organizations have indicated their support of this initiative and that they would move some or all of their programming to the new facility. The proposal was shared with the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board at a Special Meeting on August 16. The consensus from board members was for the proposal be pursued and that it represented a rare opportunity to acquire a significant amount of acreage to address the shortage of athletic field space in our community as well as positively impact the resulting use of parkland in our neighborhoods.
We want to know what you think about the proposed Case Road property acquisition. Please complete this quick survey to let us know what you think. Deadline: Friday, November 2. To view a full screen version of the survey, click here.