November 24, 2014

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Family-friendly park planned in Avon

AVON — Now that the city has plans to open a municipal aquatic facility in 2015, city officials are envisioning what the 7½ acres of woodland adjacent to the facility will be.

During previous city meetings, it has been suggested the land will be transformed into a park with walking trails and a potential amphitheater for outdoor music.

Mayor Bryan Jensen said the city wants the entire area around the future Avon Municipal Aquatic facility to serve families.

“We’re working with the (Lorain County) Metro Parks to see how we can partner and maybe put a quarter-mile pathway through the woods that have never been timbered,” Jensen said.

City officials want those using the park to get just as much of a history lesson as they do fresh air.

“We’ve talked about making it a history walk,” Jensen said during a telephone interview. “We would like to have little plaques along the trail with a history of the city. We’d like to see a walk that includes a step-by-step history of Avon.”

Jensen said members of the Avon Historical Society are gathering historical photos and data to create a timeline to determine how many plaques are needed for a quarter-mile path.

Taylor “Jack” Smith, a lifelong city resident, historian and publicity chairman of the Avon Historical Society, said a history walk would fit nicely with the proposed park’s purpose.

“It’s going to be a static park,” Smith said during a telephone interview. “In other words, there won’t be any soccer games or sports. People enjoying the pool can also take a walk around and enjoy the surroundings.”

“In 2000, we had around 10,000 people in the city and in 2010 we had over 20,000,” Smith said. “Many of the newer people in town, understandably, wouldn’t know too much about Avon. This would be a way to enjoy a nice walk and learn a few things at the same time.”

Jensen said City Hall will eventually move to the same area, but none of the park land will be used for the future site.

“City Hall will be closer to the police station,” Jensen said. “But that’s still years away. I’d like to get the pool up and recreational area first before we concentrate on City Hall.”

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.