Hamilton Parks Conservancy has had a busy 2017. They’ve spent the year updating some of the many neighborhood parks – Hamilton has 17, by the way. They’ve also added new playscapes to 6 parks, including Booker T. Washington Community Center’s new splashpad and playset. They’ve spent countless hours maintaining our parks and rec facilities (41 spaces, at last count). And, as a big bonus for the Hamilton Community, 2017 saw the grand opening of two new parks in the downtown area.
Marcum Park spent its inaugural summer as home to the Hamilton Flea. The two water features offer cool summer fun, and food trucks a-plenty surround the park. The public restroom behind RiversEdge amphitheater saw a few upgrades too: a new drinking fountain (for people AND dogs) and a bicycle repair station. And just two blocks away, High Street’s Rotary park also opened in 2017. Not only is this a nice green space for downtown workers, but it is also a popular space during local events like Operation Pumpkin and Alive After 5.
Big Goals for 2018
The Parks Conservancy team, lead by Director Steve Timmer, has truly had a banner year. After all that, it would be easy for them to kick up their feet and take a well-deserved winter break. But, while the cold weather drives us inside and out of the parks, this is when the real work of the Parks Conservancy begins.
Winter is the rebuilding season for the Parks Conservancy. This is the time of year that they pre-order materials and equipment that keep our many parks functioning. They demo and remove old or damaged equipment, and make way for the new. The conference room of the Parks Conservancy offices on 2nd Street looks like a war room: schematics of parks, equipment that is on-order, and planned purchases cover the table, hang on boards and paper the walls. Everything in the room screams: we’ve got work to do!
So, how does the Parks Conservancy spend the fall and winter months? The first step is winterizing the public restrooms, irrigations and pumps. This is also the time that they can tackle remodeling restrooms or building a new Maintenance Building. They’re adding new signage to Marcum Park and a “Live Your Dream” sculpture at Joyce Park. They also clean up landscaping with re-edging and new mulch. In other words, they start preparing for the next parks season.
After all of the huge undertakings of 2017, the Parks Conservancy is gearing up for a busy 2018. This coming year, they will be placing an additional 12 new playscapes and equipment. Many of these will be placed in neighborhoods on the West Side of Hamilton. They hope to have all of these in place by May 2018. It’s an aggressive target, but they want the playgrounds for when school gets out for the summer.
The Future Looks Bright
And the Parks Conservancy has their eyes on the future. With two new parks, and tons of new equipment, they can start to focus on bigger goals. Timmer wants to have some programs available in Marcum Park, like after-work leagues. Movie nights in the park will definitely be a welcome addition to Hamilton’s summer entertainment. Also on the wish list? Developing an annual endowment to make sure we will have funds in the future to replace and update equipment as needed.
When asked about more long-term goals for the Parks Conservancy, Timmer doesn’t hesitate. He wants to focus more on beautification efforts in the parks and green spaces. We don’t know about you, but we think they already do a wonderful job making our city a beautiful place to live, work and play.