Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Mason plans for parks

Long-range ideas invited; cost of lighting, synthetic field studied

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - There are some big ideas for this city's undeveloped park space, but officials say the first step is developing a long-term plan.

The city is accepting proposals from consulting firms for at least some of the 250 acres of undeveloped city-owned land. The proposals are due by the end of the month and will be discussed at the April 12 council meeting, City Manager Scot Lahrmer said during a council work session Monday night.

In the meantime, the city has started working on other ways to solve some of the field shortages for baseball, soccer, and other sports. That includes coordinating schedules with Mason School District for three ball diamonds at the high school/community center campus and the intermediate school campus. It also will work with Deerfield Township to coordinate park schedules, Mayor Peter Beck said.

The parks department has already received cost estimates for lighting the fields at Heritage Oak Park and a synthetic soccer field. Both the lighting, which would cost upward of $1 million, and the synthetic field, costing about $700,000, would increase the amount of time the fields could be used, Lahrmer said.

While the ideas are not off the table, several council members expressed hesitation at Monday's meeting about proceeding until after they determine if those improvements would be the best buys.

"There would have to be a strong financial benefit to it," Councilman Steve Osborne said.


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