Canal Fulton mulls next stage of city’s community park development

FULTON CANAL – The city is about to complete a new walking path in the community parkleaving city officials eyeing next steps to develop the 27-acre park.

G6 Infrastructure crews from Maumee worked on the 10-foot-wide limestone path. Officials would like to close the path one day.

Mayor Joe Schultz said residents were already taking advantage of the walking path which offers “pretty cool terrain”, with rolling hills and areas in and out of the surrounding woods.

“When it’s 90 degrees you’ll get some shade,” he said.

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The nearly $250,000 project is funded by the state’s most recent biennial budget.

A bridge was built to cross a creek to the Brookview Avenue walking path.

The bridge, the mayor said, connects the Colonial Hills development, which has about 400 homes, to the city‘s downtown.

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Residents of Colonial Hills can walk through Locust at Bob Street to Brookview, cross the bridge and access the walking path to High Street and walk downtown.

“This bridge was the keystone of the connectivity concept,” he said.

The city recently learned that it will receive an additional $300,000 in state capital. Now city officials are trying to figure out how best to spend that funding on improving the recreational space.

The community park has great potential

City Manager Dan Bucher Jr. said the possibilities are endless for the property.

“There is potential,” he said. “As you walk the trail, you can see it. It’s almost overwhelming to see how much we can do if done right.”

Realizing these dreams will require money.

State funding is excellent, but Bucher does not want to rely on capital money.

“I don’t want to be 100 when we finish this,” he joked.

As they continue to make plans for the property, officials are also looking for additional funding sources through grants and private donations.

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Although final plans have not been made for the next round of funding, Bucher said there are plenty of ideas on the table, including a splash pool and children’s play area.

“I don’t want to say that’s what we’re doing, but it’s a priority,” he said.

A master plan was developed in 2013 when the city secured the former Puffenberger property, located between the Schalmo Family YMCA, 976 Canal St. S, and the Eugene M. Fellmeth Safety Center at 1165 Locust St.

The plan did not include the YMCA and it was later updated to 2018, Bucher said.

The Environmental Designs Group came up with a comprehensive plan after asking officials and residents for input on what they wanted to see in the park.

Bucher said high on the wish list was a walking path and a wading pool.

Schultz would like to see the wading pool become a reality, but he knows the state’s $300,000 stipend won’t get them very far. With a paddling pool comes other needs, including infrastructure for water, electricity and toilet facilities.

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The city’s new director of parks and recreation, Chris Bundy, will take office on July 11. The Director of Parks will play a major role in the development of the park.

“I told him to start thinking about it,” Bucher said. “The night I hired him, he saw the master plan and I’m excited to see what ideas he has.”

Bundy served as Director of Recreation at Mill Creek Metro Parks for several years.

“It’s one of the most important things he will lead,” Bucher said. “It’s a blank canvas. You just have to find the right pieces to put in it and make it a real community park.”

Contact Amy at 330-775-1135 or [email protected]

On Twitter: @aknappINDE

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