Mansfield Building

City of Mansfield Municipal Building.

MANSFIELD -- Mansfield City Council on Tuesday is expected to discuss a proposal expressing "approval and support" for the administration's $29 million city parks master plan.

The 78-page plan, developed by EMH&T, a Columbus-based company that has designed development and public works projects since 1926, was unveiled in April by Mark Abrams, the city's parks and recreation department manager.

The plan includes an $8 million aquatic facility at Liberty Park, $792,000 for a new playground at Sterkel Park and a $150,000 skatepark at Prospect Park, among a long list of planned improvements.

In 2018, the city hired EMH&T to conduct a survey of city residents and create a master plan that encompassed all city-owned park lands. The city paid $58,000 for the work.

In April, Mayor Tim Theaker said his administration must work through COVID-19 issues before analyzing the parks plan.

"It would be premature to comment on the plan and how we are going to move forward without getting a greater grasp on the impact on our income tax, PRIDE tax, safety forces tax, general fund and any federal or state assistance," Theaker said at the time.

"The primary purpose of this report is to provide the City of Mansfield with a community-based description of its current parks and recreation issues, identified needs and realistic recommendations," the plan said, while not offering a timeline for projects to be completed.

Mansfield's Parks & Recreation Department operates on an annual budget of $816,000, all of it derived from the PRIDE income tax levy, first approved by voters in 2013. It generates about $3.7 million annually, with 50 percent going to the police and fire departments, 22 percent to parks and recreation, 20 percent to building demolition and eight percent to lighting.

Council will discuss the proposal during a parks committee meeting at 6:35 p.m. A vote on the issue is not planned until Oct. 20.

Also on Tuesday, City Council is expected to:

-- give a second reading on a $35 million bond issue that would pay for EPA-mandated improvements at the city's water treatment plant and also on water rate increases that would re-pay the bond and also launch a systematic replacement of water lines throughout the city over the next decade.

-- give first read to an ordinance that would allow the city to use the "construction manager at risk" during construction of public improvements. If approved, the manager would participate in the design process and could then perform the work or sub-contract all or parts of the project.

-- vote on the demolition of dilapidated structures at 30 Lexington Ave., 40 Chestnut St., 56 Mansfield Ave., 81-83 N. Benton St., 114 S. Glenn Ave., 233 Lexington Ave. and 524 Dewey Ave.

-- vote to allow the city to enter into a contract with Debt Recovery Solutions to be the third-party debt collection agent for the city to collect delinquent water and sewer accounts.

-- vote on a proposal to grant a license to St. Peter's Evangelical German Lutheran Church to construct and install an immigrant bell in South Park.

-- vote on a contract with the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development to assist in the disbursement of $275,000 in one-time grants to small businesses in the city impacted by COVID-19. The city has designated the funds from the $1.69 million the city has received thus far in federal CARES Act money.

-- vote to amend the city's personnel ordinances to upgrade the police aide and parking control officer positions.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"