WADSWORTH — For two years, the city has been gathering ideas for a downtown park, and this month learned funding for such an endeavor is included in the state’s capital appropriations bill.
In February 2016, building owners, businesses and community groups said they were interested in developing a meeting area downtown. The city, the Wadsworth Area Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit Main Street Wadsworth then paid $35,000 for a study by OHM Advisors, based in Brecksville, to provide a conceptual plan.
The city also asked residents through a survey what they would like to see as part of the downtown revitalization effort, and popular replies were a park or central gathering place.
Now that the city has a potential funding source — $300,000 is included in the capital bill, which is expected to be voted on by the end of this month — it is looking at possible locations for green space.
Using the downtown gazebo’s location as well as city-owned parking lots have been discussed.
“This news is a really big deal because we want to give the Wadsworth community what they have been asking for, and now that dream may become a reality,” Main Street Wadsworth Executive Director Adrianne Krauss said in a statement.
She said she was grateful to Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, and House Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick, and everyone who has been involved in “advocating for our wonderful downtown.”
If the city is awarded funding from the state, the project could be completed within the two-year cycle of the state budget, Public Service Director Robert Patrick said. The entire project, he said, would cost about $600,000, with the city picking up what isn’t covered in the state’s capital budget.
A committee made up of residents, business owners, and representatives from City Council, Main Street Wadsworth, Wadsworth Schools, Wadsworth Public Library and Wadsworth chamber are reviewing the park proposal and its implementation.
“I am very excited about the news and the positive impact this would have on our efforts to enhance our downtown,” Mayor Robin Laubaugh said in the statement. “I am thankful to our legislators for this item being included, as this project could transform downtown for many years to come.”
Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.