August 22, 2014

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North Ridgeville Council to examine recreation plan

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A community recreation complex, swimming pool, more athletic fields and walking-biking trails top the wish list of hundreds of residents surveyed for a 10-year master plan designed to help the city better meet its future parks and recreation needs.

Prepared by Brandstetter Carroll Inc., a Lexington, Ky.-based architectural, engineering and planning firm, the master plan’s conclusions were based in large part on an Internet and handout survey of about 615 residents.

Public sentiment was also gauged in meetings with local baseball and soccer organizations, the North Ridgeville Football League, school groups and senior living communities.

“The idea was to get as many people involved as possible,” according to Pat Hoagland, a principal partner of the architectural-planning firm.

City Council is expected to vote on the plan later this month.

Kevin Fougerousse, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department director, said the master plan will be a valuable tool in shaping the future of the city’s parks and facilities.

“Instead of throwing money at projects on a piecemeal basis, this will give us some overall guidance for the next 10 years or more, as well as extra ammunition to get grants for capital projects,” Fougerousse said.

Stressing the need for a permanent source of funding, Hoagland told Council members and city officials that the survey also found 46 percent of people who answered the survey expressed “strong support” for some kind of local recreation tax, while another 31 percent showed “moderate” support.

Partnerships with major companies, hospital systems and school districts may also be key to providing operating funds, and boosting odds of securing grants for future improvements, Hoagland said.

About 72.5 percent of those surveyed said they leave the city to find and use a swimming pool.

Other main components of the master plan include development of new football fields and illuminated baseball-softball fields on 22 acres of city-owned land adjacent to the Shady Drive baseball complex off Chestnut Ridge Road.

A two-mile paved walking-running-exercise trail in South Central Park is in the works, thanks to a $150,000 Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant received by the city in December 2012, and $10,000 raised from fundraisers organized by local Girl Scouts Morgan Rogers and Caitlyn Tipple.

Despite the number of “wants” topping the survey, Fougerousse cited the need “to fix what we have first before we consider what we could build.”

Repairs and upgrades to basketball courts, fencing and parking lots are among top needs now, he said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • Spec440

    How much was that firm paid to survey 615 out of the 30,000 residents? Next time I will do it for half.

    • Pathoag

      The 615 households responding represent over 2,000 residents. Every resident in North Ridgeville was invited to participate in the survey and 615 chose to share their opinions. The process also included several meeting with stakeholder groups (sports groups, seniors, Rotary, civic groups, community leaders, and others), a public workshop, and coordination with a citizen steering committee along with analyses of the existing parks, comparison to other communities in Ohio, and a lot of other tasks.