ELYRIA — Wednesday’s wet weather juxtaposed against the image of a splash pad under construction at Elyria’s West Park may lead some to believe warmer days are returning.
But the city is just making good on promises to use Issue 6 revenue on much-needed park repairs and now is the time crews could build the water-play elements, Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Bowman said.
“We are getting close to completion on West Park,” she said Wednesday. “We were happy to get on the construction schedule now. If we waited until spring, it would not be ready until the end of 2018.”
The park features many colorful spray nozzles that children can run through to get wet without jumping in a pool. About six to eight underground nozzles will shoot water while children play.
“This will be ready as soon as it gets warm again,” Bowman said. “The spray parks will have a longer schedule and can probably operate from mid-May to mid-October, depending on the weather.”
Construction should begin on another splash pad at South Park next week. It also will open spring of 2018 with a ribbon-cutting dedication.
Right now, crews are wrapping up work at West Park, including adding a new roof to a nearby building that will house the park’s mechanical systems.
Bowman said the West Park project is funded almost entirely with Issue 6 funds, the city’s 0.05 percent income tax increase voters approved in 2016. A $70,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will pay for fencing and a shelter.
The South Park project will be completed using a mix of Community Development Block Grant and Issue 6 funding.
This is just one project City Council will discuss during a special town hall meeting Oct. 23.
Council is sponsoring the 7 p.m. meeting in the Elyria High School Performing Arts Center to provide residents a history and overview of Issue 6. There will be a presentation about the revenue and expenditures and a question-and-answer period to answer any questions or concerns.
Fueled by rumors that funds from Issue 6 are not being used as directed, Councilman Mark Jessie, D-3rd Ward, said the meeting is about accountability to residents.
“We want to make sure people know we are holding the course and doing what we said we were going to do with the money,” he said.
Passed in March 2016 — the first new tax passed by voters in Elyria in 20 years — Issue 6 is designed to fund a boost for the Police Department as well as pay for residential street resurfacing and repairs, capital improvements for the Parks and Recreation Department, other city capital needs, including building upkeep, new vehicles and communication equipment and economic development. Voters approved the issue with a vote of 60.8 percent, or 7,665 Elyria voters, in favor and 39.2 percent, or 4,948 Elyria voters, against.
The largest portion of this year’s Issue 6 budget — about $1.5 million — was earmarked for roads. The Police Department and Parks and Recreation Department also each saw a $1 million infusion.
Bowman said another Issue 6 project in her department is getting underway at the North Park Ice Arena. There, a meeting room, two locker rooms, and a changing area for officials and female players will be added.
The ice season opens Oct. 23, weather permitting, but the locker rooms will not be ready until February or March.