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Powell Park Development, Powell, Ohio

By Deborah Edsall, ASLA, APA, ORPA, managing director, and Annie Craven, associate, landscape architect technician, Edsall & Associates LLC

Who needs to bathe the kids when you can take the tykes to the splash pad and let them romp around the ground geyser?

Few communities have undertaken the development of six park sites at the same time. Yet, when Powell, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio grew from a village of 2,154 in 1990 to a city of 6,247 in 2000, the establishment of a Agreenbelt@ town became a priority in creating the city's rural identity.

(Editor's note: Agreenbelt@ derives from the creation of three towns envisioned by Rexford Guy Tugwell, advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and created under the Resettlement Administration in 1935. Greenbelt, Md. was the first built, followed by Greendale, Wis. and Greenhills, Ohio. A fourth, planned for New Jersey, was never built.)

he 11.5 acre Village Green site was purchased by the city from a former trust company and is home to Powell City Hall. The primary development includes an amphitheater; splash pad and children's playground; asphaltic concrete walks; a retention pond with fountain; improved site lighting; three flag poles; picnic tables and waste receptacles; along with related grading, signage and site utilities. The landscaping includes maple, oak, linden, crabapple, spruce and willow trees; boxwood, juniper and yew shrubs; ornamental grasses; 'Sweet Flag' water plants; and a perennial palette of catmint, 'May Night' meadow sage, 'Autumn Joy' stonecrop and 'Pardon Me' daylilies.

Public officials, elected representatives, and a landscape architectural team combined six construction contracts into one, allowing Powell citizens to realize a savings of $750,000 to one million dollar on the over $5 2 million dollar venture.

As the city grew in size and population, Powell's park system increased from 19 acres to 83.4 acres as a commitment to open-space planning. The incremental increase in park land occurred, in part, through acquisition, but mainly through land dedication during 10 years of subdivision development. For every dwelling unit a developer was required to pay either $1,550 or one acre of nonresidential land to the recreation fund.

The Village Green splash pad can accommodate 70-80 children. It incorporates aquatic play components (Vortex Aquatics Structures International, Inc.), poured-in-place safety surface (SurfaceAmerica) and a subgrade drainage system (Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.).

Based on community needs assessments conducted by the city in 1993, 1998 and 2003, citizens consistently identified preservation of natural areas, walking/biking trails and children's playgrounds as most desirable. In response to the community needs assessments, city leadership determined a bond issue would best finance Powell's park and recreation improvements. A Political Action Committee (PAC) was formed to manage a campaign for the Park Bond Issue, followed by the creation of a promotional document and met with citizen groups at homes throughout the community. The PAC, which campaigned to "increase your living space by more than 3.5 million square feet," enticed voters to the polls, and in May 2002, the $7 million bond issue for land acquisition and significant development in six major parks was approved.

The play equipment (Landscape Structures, Inc.) and artful design of the poured-in-place safety surface of the Village Green playground complement the adjoining splash pad area. The surfacing is a two-layer system--a base mat of 100 percent post-consumer recycled styrene butadiene rubber and polyurethane and a top surface of recycled postindustrial ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber and polyurethane. Crimean linden trees created the backdrop, with wintergreen boxwoods in the foreground.

In mid-2002, the city hired the landscape architectural firm, Edsall & Associates LLC, to work with Powell's citizens on the creation of concept plans, construction cost estimates and phasing plans. Integrating the mission of the Powell Park and Recreation Department into the conceptual planning stage was the community's goal. Facilitators and participants alike sought to create and provide recreational opportunities for Powell's citizens by 1) improving the quality of life for the residents; 2) providing/expanding access to recreation resources, services and experiences in the community; 3) managing and protecting the community's natural resources; and 4) creating/expanding partnerships. As concept plans were developed, standards were fashioned for restroom buildings and summer houses (shelters) to help establish Powell's park identity.

The Adventure Park summer house, made of tubular steel by Poligon, a division of W.H. Porter, Inc., hosted patrons on the skate park's opening day. Restroom building standards were established as a part of Powell Park development. Other site improvements included grading, signage, site utilities, benches, bicycle racks, drinking fountain, grills, picnic tables and waste receptacles.

With the acceptance of the concept plans, construction cost estimates and establishment of phase 1 development, the city contracted with the landscape architects to prepare construction documents, perform contract administration and construction observation. During construction document preparation, 12 disciplines were involved in the project, coordinated by the landscape architect. The consulting team included an agronomist; arborist; naturalist; geotechnical engineer (subsurface investigation); environmental scientist (wetland delineation and mitigation); hydrological engineer (preparation/submittal of a conditional letter of map revision to FEMA); surveyor; architect; civil engineer; electrical/mechanical engineer and skate park consultant. In addition, a local graphics consultant developed a series of pictographs that the landscape architects integrated into the park rules signage.

The Powell Parks Master Plan shows the trail system park connections.

To maximize the citizen dollars and offset the nearly quarter million dollar water and sewer tap fees by Delaware County, separate bids were taken for tree demolition/relocation/trimming work, general contract work, landscaping, furnishing and installation of playground equipment (four contracts) and the construction of the skate park. The city negotiated a contract with the skate park consultant to construct the skate park based on defined drawings and specifications. The benefits of this approach contributed to a reduction in mobilization costs by sequencing development operations related to grading, paving, building construction, site improvements, seeding and landscaping. Savings were further realized by combining all six parks into a common larger bid package, which resulted in better and more competitive bidding by contractors.

B ball! Site improvements at Adventure Park included the restoration of the existing asphaltic concrete color coating of the basketball courts (Neyra Industries, Inc.).

The collaboration of the Powell Parks and Recreation Department with the local schools and other park and recreation providers in the area enabled the city to continue providing recreation services during construction. This often entailed using school sites for summer programs while the park construction was undertaken. Throughout the detailed planning, design and preparation of construction documents, citizen involvement continued. Emphasis was not just to design one or six parks, but to create a "park system" which emulated the citizen and community standards. Special attention was given by the landscape architects and their team to blend park elements with the surrounding residential development, preserve the community's natural features and serve the community's rapidly growing youth population.

A retention pond and fountain (Hydro Dramatics) greet visitors at the Village Green park entrance.

The Major Park Construction Elements

Oak Park--a 3.5 acre site located at the southern entrance to the city opposite Library Park on the west side of South Liberty Street. Primary improvements in this park involved selective clearing and development of an unpaved path system.

The original development of the 10-acre Library Park (the park shares the site with the Delaware County Library) was a basketball court parking area, a children's play area, landscaping, a multipurpose field for Little League, a sand volleyball court and softball and soccer fields.

Arbor Ridge Park--an undeveloped 8.5 acre site dedicated as a part of the Falcon Ridge Subdivision. Park development included asphaltic concrete walks, fencing, landscaping, a parking area, a new unique playground, a restroom/storage building, two tennis courts, site improvements (benches, bicycle racks, drinking fountain, picnic grill, picnic tables and waste receptacles), along with related grading, signage and site utilities.

Preservation of the existing pond and vegetation at Meadow View Park keeps nature's wildlife thriving.

Beechwood Park--a 12.5 acre site, acquired through dedication of the Woods at Big Bear Subdivision. The area consisted of a small intermittent stream meandering through the site from west to east and a very fine mature stand of beech and maple trees. A tunnel under the CSX railroad to the east connects the park to Memorial Park with an asphaltic concrete walk system. Initial park improvements included landscape screening along the north property line.

To accommodate large family gatherings in the new summer house (W.H. Porter, Inc.), site improvements at Murphy's Park include asphaltic pavement, picnic tables (Game Time), grills, drinking fountain (Haws Corp.) and waste receptacles (Du Mor, Inc.). The park also features a great variety of shade trees: green mountain sugar maple; pin oak; ornamental and evergreen trees; autumn brilliance serviceberry; redbud; milky way dogwood; Washington hawthorn; sweet bay magnolia; norway spruce and colorado green spruce.

The Village Green--an 11.5 acre site, purchased by the city from a former trust company. The building serves as the Powell City Hall. Primary development at the Village Green included the amphitheater with state-of-the-art lighting system, the splash pad and children's playground with artfully designed poured-in-place safety surfaces. Further park improvements included asphaltic concrete walks, landscaping, a retention pond with fountain, improved site lighting, three flag poles, picnic tables and waste receptacles, along with related grading, signage and site utilities.

The Village Green site includes an amphitheater (Schorr & Associates Architects, Inc.) with a state-of-the-art lighting system (Lumec) to host night performances of the family concert summer series.

Murphy's Park--a 5.9 acre site, acquired by the city through land dedication when the surrounding subdivision was developed. The area was the site of the former Murphy's Party Barn. It has a number of fine, mature trees including specimens of ash, hickory, maple and oak. Park development included the addition of amenities suitable for family gatherings, such as bocce ball courts, two horseshoe courts, a unique playground, a restroom building, a large summer house, benches, bicycle racks, a drinking fountain, grills, picnic tables and waste receptacles.

The park development at Arbor Ridge includes two new tennis courts, the only courts in the city. The asphalt is color coated by Neyra Industries.

Meadow View Park--Here, preservation of the woodland was the primary focus. The site was obtained by the city through dedication of its 12.5 acres when the Ashmoore subdivision was developed. An existing pond at the southern end occupies approximately one-quarter of the site. A trail system, children's playground and short grass prairie were a part of the park's development plan. Improvements further included educational panels, picnic tables and waste receptacles, along with related grading, signage and site utilities.

This was 8.5 undeveloped acres of the Falcon Ridge Subdivision. The Arbor Ridge Park development included asphaltic concrete walks, fencing, landscaping, a parking area, a new unique playground, a restroom/storage building, two tennis courts, site improvements (benches, bicycle racks, drinking fountain, picnic grill, picnic tables and waste receptacles), along with related grading, site utilities and signage (on a landscaped median of Bar Harbor junipers.

Adventure Park--a 19-acre site, purchased in the late 1980s for a service building and park. In 1994, with a land and water conservation fund grant, a basketball court and children's play area were developed. A small swimming pool owned and operated by a private association is also located on the site. Park improvements included asphaltic concrete walks, parking areas, an upgraded/expanded unique playground, a restroom building, a summer house and a concrete custom-designed skate park, considered one of the best skate parks in central Ohio. Further site improvements included benches, bicycle racks, drinking fountain, grills, picnic tables and waste receptacles along with grading, signage and site utilities.

The preservation of the woodlands was a primary focus of the Meadow View Park development. An existing pond at the southern end occupies approximately one-quarter of the site. A trail system, children's playground and short grass prairie were a part of the park's development plan. Improvements further included educational panels, picnic tables and waste receptacles, along with related grading, signage and site utilities. The play area features KOMPAN, Inc. and Miracle Recreation Equipment Co. structures.

Library Park--These 10 acres were acquired through a land trade and purchase. It was originally developed through general revenue funds with a basketball court parking area, a children's play area, landscaping, a multipurpose field for Little League, a sand volleyball court and softball and soccer fields. The Delaware County Library shares the site with the city park. The redevelopment of the park included asphaltic concrete walks; conversion of the basketball court into a multipurpose court; fencing; landscaping; expansion of the parking area; an improved and expanded unique playground; a restroom building; and site improvements (benches, bicycle racks, a drinking fountain, funnel ball, picnic tables, tetherball, and waste receptacles).

The Powell youth, what we used to call "kids," were excited to give their ideas for the skate park conceptual plans.

The delivery of the Powell Park Development System involved numerous hours and commitment by city council members and the development committee; the Powell Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; the city manager; the city engineer, police chief, law director, finance director, chief building official, director of development, the community affairs/special events coordinator and of course the director of parks, recreation and public service. The city community affairs coordinator kept citizens regularly informed of the park construction through updates on the city website. Park construction update signs with the city's web address were also strategically placed throughout the community.

Play equipment (Playworld Systems, Inc.), earth mounding and a crawl tubes (Henderson) make for fun at the 19-acre Adventure Park. Catmint perennials, Tam's juniper shrubs, dwarf yellow daylilies and ornamental grasses (little bunny dwarf fountain grass, dwarf miscanthus) comprise the flora.

The plan created an identifiable park system for the citizens of Powell, a unique signature for that community. In August 2005, Powell was recognized by CNN Money Magazine as the 18th best place to live in the country, with the park planning playing a major role in establishing a better quality of life for the people of Powell. The city and landscape architect received a Superior Award in 2005 for park facility development in the over 5-million dollar category from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, the highest award given by that association. The project and landscape architect also received a Merit Award in 2006 from the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

The playground at Murphy's Park is nestled amid fine, mature ash, hickory, maple and oak trees. The hardscape is asphaltic concrete and the play equipment by Miracle Recreation Equipment Co., with wood fiber safety surfacing (The Fibar Group).

The trail system at Meadow View Park is a scenic course along asphaltic concrete walks through preserved woodland.



Prime Consultant
Edsall & Associates LLC

Landscape Architects/Planners
Columbus, Ohio

Oberlander's Tree & Landscape
Bucyrus, Ohio

General Contractor
Corna/Kokosing Construction Co.
Westerville, Ohio

Landscape Contractor
Buckeye Landscape
Columbus, Ohio

Skate Park Contractor
Team Pain Enterprises, Inc.
Winter Springs, Fla.

Play Equipment Contractors:
Jennings, Inc.
Cincinnati, Ohio

M.G. Walsh Co.
Johnstown, Ohio

Miracle Recreation Equipment Co.
Monett, Missouri

Service Supply Ltd., Inc.
Columbus, Ohio

Hoards of skateboarders eagerly anticipate the ribbon cutting of Adventure Park's skate park on opening day. The concrete skate park was created by Team Pain Enterprises, Inc.


Ahlum & Arbor, Hilliard, Ohio

Schorr Architects
Dublin, Ohio

Electrical/Mechanical Engineer
Prater Engineering Associates
Dublin, Ohio

Geotechnical/Wetlands Engineer
CTL Engineering Inc.
Columbus, Ohio

Graphics Consultant
Powell, Ohio

Hydrological Engineer
Hartman Engineering
Delaware, Ohio

Paul Knoop, Jr.
Laurelville, Ohio

Skate Park Consultant/Contractor
Team Pain Enterprises, Inc.
Winter Springs, Florida 32708

The pool is a special feature of Powell's skate park.


Asphaltic Concrete Color Coating
Neyra Industries, Inc.
Cincinnati, Ohio

Benches/Waste Receptacles
Du Mor Inc.
Mifflintown, Penn.

Bicycle Racks
Bicycle Parking Project

Drinking/Pet Fountains
Haws Corp.
Sparks, Nevada

Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada

Poured-In-Place Safety Surface
Williamsville, New York

Splash Pad
Vortex Aquatics Structures International, Inc.
Montreal, PQ, Canada

Subgrade Drainage System
Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.
London, Ohio

Summer Houses
W. H. Porter, Inc.
Holland, Michigan

Village Green Pond Fountain
Hydro Dramatics
St. Louis, Missouri

Wood Fiber Safety Surface
The Fibar Group
Armonk, New York 10504

Playground Equipment:
Johnson City, New York

Landscape Structures Inc.
Delano, Minnesota

Miracle Recreation Equipment Company
Monett, Missouri

Playworld Systems, Inc.
Lewisburg, Penn.

A skateboarder gets air, flying off one of the many banks at Adventure Park's skate park.

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December 9, 2019, 10:34 am PDT

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