Suggestions made June 30 for converting the former McCormick Middle School into a park may come to fruition in two years.
That’s when the park would open to host Wellington’s bicentennial.
Approximately 50 people attended a brainstorming session in the village hall gymnasium where ideas were proposed and rated.
Mayor Hans Schneider encouraged input. “All voices are equal,” he said. “Your opinion counts.”
The school at 201 South Main St., originally the Union School, opened in 1867 and closed in December. It was razed in March and is now a flat field dotted with trees and playground equipment.
McFallon Landscape Architect, which has offices in Strongsville and Tuscon, Ariz., is being paid $8,100 by the village to help design the park. Owner Mark Fallon, who will present plans to village council members, worked on more than 300 projects valued at over $150 million while Cleveland Parks and Recreation manager of park planning design and development.
Schneider asked for ideas on an active park, primarily for recreation and sports, and a passive park, mainly for relaxing and walking. He also asked residents to consider a combination of the two.
Most audience members supported a passive park. The most popular ideas for the 4.7-acre site were a pavilion for music and plays, planting flowers and trees to create a look similar to Oberlin’s Tappan Square, and erecting historical markers.
Other ideas included installing bleachers and areas for bocce ball or lawn bowling and creating a walking path.
Ideas for the active park included a basketball court, concession stand, horseshoe pit, and jungle gym.
Several people urged fellow residents to curb their enthusiasm, stressing taxpayers will pay to maintain the park. “If it gets too expensive and things start to fall apart, they’re going to say, ‘Maybe we should get rid of this park,’” resident Mike Giar said of village officials.
Resident Pam Dugas suggested using the area for green space with benches and trees rather than as a park. Dugas said in an interview that it was unnecessary to duplicate activities already available at Wellington Community Park on Johns Street.
“This is a small town,” she said of Wellington, which has about 4,800 residents. “You don’t need two parks.”
However, village manager Steve Pyles said some south side residents believe the walk to Community Park is too long and would prefer an alternative. “There might be some common amenities that each should have so there’s access,” he said.
Some residents objected to installing restrooms, but Pyles and Schneider said they would be necessary if the park were to stage events. Schneider said he plans to form a committee of about a dozen residents with varying backgrounds, of which he’ll be a member.
About 20 people volunteered for the committee.
Schneider, who said after the meeting that the park may be built in phases, encouraged residents to continue making suggestions for the park. “Everybody has a vote,” he said.
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.
Evan Goodenow | The Wellington Enterprise Residents brainstormed ideas June 30 for a park where the former McCormick Middle School was demolished.