Columbus leaders say bond package will support local parks

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther joined city and community leaders recently to outline how the proposed $1.5 billion bond package on the ballot would support the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. Specifically, Issue 15 would allocate $200 million for planned capital investments in parks, playgrounds and facilities without raising or imposing new taxes.

“Our parks and community centers are central to who we are and who we aspire to be,” said Ginther. “It is essential that we continue to grow and strengthen our incredible parks system so that everyone can enjoy the broad range of benefits they provide, and so we can realize our full potential as a vibrant, dynamic and diverse community.”

If approved by Columbus voters, funding would be allocated as follows:

•$100 million: Planned renovations and replacements
•$48 million: New greenway and park development
•$14 million: Acquisition for future parkland
•$14 million: Small program projects for rental, golf and sports facilities
•$10 million: Large program projects for rental, golf and sports facilities
•$8 million: Emergency replacements
•$6 million: Unanticipated, time-sensitive high-priority projects

“Columbus parks represent our values: open to everyone, free, and owned by the community,” said council president Shannon Hardin. “If it is not for all, then it’s not for us. We know that parks are for all of us.”

Voted bonds allow the city to borrow money to pay for capital improvements at a lower interest rate, saving residents millions and allowing the city to invest more in neighborhoods. Recent examples of projects paid for by bond funding include the renovation of the Scioto Southland Community Center, construction of the Linden Community Center, the expansion of North Bank Pavilion, the renovated Goodale Shelter house, the John Burroughs Park renovation, Olentangy Trail expansions and improvements, the lower field and skatepark at Tuttle Park and the Wyandot Lodge Construction at McKnight Outdoor Education Center.

“We see time and again the tangible impact of these improvements on our residents,” said Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Director Bernita Reese. “By making the investments we need to continue our progress and plan for future, we will build a parks system that strengthens our city’s quality of life and lays the groundwork for greater opportunity and excellence.”

The bond package – Issues 14-18 – will be voted on by Columbus residents in the general election on Nov. 8. Early voting is currently underway at the Franklin County Board of Elections at 1700 Morse Road.

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