A public meeting seeking input about how to improve Felson Park and possibly revamp the Imagination Kingdom playground at the Greenfield Exempted Village Schools has been scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at the McClain High School Cafetorium.
Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin said he is seeking input, “from everyone from fourth graders to fourth graders’ parents about what they would like to see, what they would use, to make (Felson) a destination park for the entire region.”
Wilkin said that because Felson Park is located in a flood plain partly managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, there are sometimes restrictions on erecting buildings and other structures in the park area. So, his idea is to create a “natural playground,” possibly even using fallen trees to create things like teeter-totters and swings, along with hills and water features, to create a park that would draw people to the area.
“The park is built right up against a creek, so that’s a destination park right there,” Wilkin said. “The goal is not to build a big plastic structure, but something that has components in it.”
Greenfield schools representatives will also be at the meeting seeking suggestions on how to repair and possibly upgrade the Imagination Kingdom that was constructed through community volunteer work in the early 1990s.
Sandy Free, Greenfield Board of Education president, said that since the community built the playground, school officials want to get the community’s input on how to repair and possibly improve it.
“It needs some repairs,” Free said. “It’s in the very early stages and we’re thinking it needs something. Maybe the public can give us some fresh ideas on what to do.”
Wilkin said the event will start like a public meeting, then he’ll introduce David Whitaker, a landscape architect who will be on hand to discuss options for redevelopment of the Felson Park area.
“After that, it’s basically going to be like an open house,” Wilkin said. “So if someone can’t get there until 5:30 or later, that’s fine.”
He said a display will be set up where visitors can place stickers next to things they would like to see in the park. He said that in an effort to get as much public input as possible, the display will likely be set up at an upcoming McClain boys basketball game where more people will have a chance to offer their input.
One idea, Wilkin said, it to tear on old power plant in the Felson Park area down and replace with some type of pavilion with restrooms.
Wilkin said public input is important and he encouraged anyone interested to attend the meeting and bring their ideas with them. He said village officials have been working on an economic development plan, one of the strategies in the plan is to present Greenfield as a tourist destination, and the redevelopment of Felson Park is part of the plan.
“I’m excited about the meeting, but I’m even more excited about uncovering what our citizens want down there,” Wilkin said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.