It’s one of the city’s older neighborhoods, one where most homes date from the 1920s-’40s. But while it boasts great access to downtown and to the interstates, the nearest recreational area, Lewis Park west of Church Street, is a bit of a hike and involves crossing two major thoroughfares (Church and Cherokee streets).
“Some mothers that I know said, ‘we would like you to come over and walk with us from our houses all the way across to Lewis Park, and you have to cross Church and Cherokee to do that,’” said Marietta Councilman Johnny Sinclair, who chairs the city’s Parks Committee. “They said, ‘We want you to see what it’s like to cross Church and Cherokee with a baby stroller.’ So I wasn’t 30 seconds into our visit when I said, ‘I get the message, it’s terrifying.’”
So the city council on Wednesday voted to spend $230,000 to buy two adjoining lots on Chicopee Drive from the estate of Carolyn Carr Riddle totaling 1.9 acres for use as a park.
The two lots are partly wooded with mature trees and also contain an older Cape Cod-style house that likely will be torn down or moved, Sinclair said.
Money for the purchase comes from the city’s $25 million parks bond passed in 2009.
About $11.4 million of that sum has been spent thus far, according to city parks director Rich Buss.
The new park doesn’t yet have a name or a clearly defined use, but won’t be developed into ballparks, Sinclair said.
“When people say, ‘What’s going to be in the park,’ I say, ‘You tell me.’ We need to meet with the neighbors and say we’ve bought this gorgeous piece of property, what do you want to see?” Sinclair said. “I would imagine what we’re going to have is a pretty low-intensity park, a good neighborhood park with some handicap parking, maybe a pavilion, a playground, a walking trail, just a place where kids can play.”
It’s a good use of parks bond money and will go to an area that long has been underserved, parks-wise. There’s little question that it will be embraced by that neighborhood and be frequently used.
As noted above, it won’t have ball fields or courts, but the move is a winner none the less.