Planning & Design Project Coordinator
The third quarter of 2022 has been a busy one for Metro Parks, and the Planning & Design department was no exception! We started, finished and continued work on several projects over the last few months, with even more to come in the next quarter.
At the beginning of November, the Metro Parks Board authorized us to grow the park district by over a hundred acres. We will be purchasing a 92-acre parcel of former farmland to add to Rocky Fork Metro Park. This parcel includes Schleppi Run (a stream of Big Walnut Creek) and a small woodland, and also presents Metro Parks with an opportunity to conserve important open space in a township likely to boom as new residents flock to the region to work at the Intel factory.
Our second acquisition, while much smaller, is just as exciting! For the first time in many years, Blacklick Woods Metro Park is going to grow! We will be buying a 6-acre parcel of land across Livingston Avenue. This parcel has a portion of Blacklick Creek, a tributary stream and access to the Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail.
We also wrote and submitted two applications to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s Attributable Funds program. This program allocates federal dollars to local organizations and agencies and this year, thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in late 2021, MORPC had over $45 million to distribute to pedestrian and bikeway infrastructure projects.
Metro Parks applied for funds to construct a 1-mile connector trail between the River Bluff and Big Meadows areas at Highbanks, including three bridges (one over the Olentangy River), and for funds to construct a pedestrian bridge over S.R. 104 as part of a Scioto Greenway Trail extension. Nineteen applications —with requests for over $98 million— were submitted to the Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure categories this year, so we should see a lot of greenway expansion and development in the region! Both grants, if awarded would be for 2024-25.
We’ve also continued work on the next phase of development at Quarry Trails Metro Park. A bid to build a Park Office was awarded last month and we’ve started to fence in the new Dog Park. Our next big projects at Quarry Trails are to finish up work on the Via Ferrata and to make sure that the Sled Hill is ready for the first snows of the season!
A lot of our focus this quarter has been on trails. Trail improvements and culvert work are currently in progress at Sharon Woods Metro Park, with repaving scheduled for next year, and we have hired a consultant to design a trail connection across the Park Road bridge in Westerville, between Headquarters and the Deer Creek neighborhood.