Last updated: September 06. 2013 4:20PM - 22 Views

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MELISSA MACKEY

Staff Writer

Liberty Township residents could take a jog closer to home if a Central Ohio YMCA park plan gets off the ground.

YMCA officials are interested in developing 40 acres of land behind its existing Liberty Township/Powell branch at 7798 N. Liberty Road. The plans call for a walking path that circles the property, a covered pavilion area that seats 90 and a restroom.

The idea is based on a park plan that came before voters and was defeated about eight years ago, but YMCA officials think that property should be better utilized.

“What we wanted to do is revisit the plan,” said YMCA of Central Ohio District Vice President Paul Weber.

The property sits south of the township’s Liberty Park, which could connect into the new facility, making for a nice walking or running loop, Weber said. This is a way to potentially make it safer for runners who get forced out onto the road due to lack of close running trails in the area.

The next step is finding community members who are willing to serve on a task force responsible for helping design a concept and raising funds for the project. The estimated price tag could be as much as $100,000, and YMCA officials hope to raise the funds privately, Weber said.

These steps would happen over the next few months, and fundraising would happen during the last three months of the year, Weber said. The plan is to talk with area service clubs and make the project be a community build.

Certain aspects would need to be contracted, such as the cement floor and block wall, but the pavilion could be built by the community, Weber said. The YMCA already has blueprint plans for similar buildings adjacent to Central Ohio YMCAs and could use those for the project.

The community could benefit from the pavilion when children participating in YMCA summer programs aren’t using it, Weber said.

YMCA officials plan to meet with the Olentangy Youth Athletic Association (OYAA) that uses the field for practices. A concrete storage area would be part of the plan for shared use with OYAA and the YMCA, Weber said.

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