Union School Park it shall be.
Mayor Hans Schneider revealed that as the name of a soon-to-be-constructed park Saturday during a dedication ceremony on Dickson Street in Wellington.
The land was home to Union School in the late-1860s before the building was recommissioned as McCormick Middle School nearly a century later.
Park planning committee members chose the Union School namesake over Legacy Park and Heritage Park. Schneider said the decision was made in a blind vote with only he and village council clerk Christa O’Brien knowing the result before Saturday.
“I think we got a lot of public feedback and at the end of the day this is what our committee and village decided,” the mayor said. “People wanted to pay tribute to the history of schools on this ground and they wanted to tie that to the future of our community.”
The new name was revealed by park planning committee member Susie Alspach. Her husband, Fred Alspach, served as the committee’s chairman before passing away last summer in a scooter crash.
By Schneider’s choosing, a new chairman was not named to replace him.
“I do feel like Fred is here in spirit,” said his widow. “He and I were both on the committee from the beginning and I’ve sort of felt his guidance through this whole process. He was so interested in the project and I think he’d be very happy with how it’s progressing.”
Early cost estimates for the new park have come in at roughly $1.7 million, but planners have said that number could come down before actual construction begins.
Schneider said grant money will be sought to cover at least part of final costs.
Conceptual plans received village approval in January and include 20,000 square feet of concrete walkways, 60 light posts, 31 benches, and seven flag poles.
A prospective one-third-mile jogging path wraps around the park’s outer edges with a life-size Spirit of ‘76 monument sitting in the southwest corner.
A large fountain will sit on the west end toward South Main Street and an evergreen tree is shown at the park’s epicenter.
On the east end, a bandstand with restrooms and drinking fountains is envisioned, ideas that were pushed heavily by Fred Alspach.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.