Improvements change landscape at city’s American Legion Park


City streets worker Noah Arbogast waters grass seed at American Legion Park this morning. He said the city planted the seed last week and is simply watering it to keep it growing. The grass planting is one example of the projects the city has done to improve American Legion Park in the past year.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)
One of the biggest recent changes to Marysville’s landscape is the various improvements to American Legion Park on West Fifth Street.
The park is now host to a new bridge, stone-lined creek and a new path. A recent culvert extension project also got rid of the guardrails between the park and West Fifth Street.
City Public Service Director Mike Andrako said Streets Superintendent Joe Tracey was the main force behind the improvements to the park. According to Andrako, Tracey was the one who realized the park could be, “So much more than it (was).”
“I think it’s just one of the main gateways (to the city),” Tracey said.
Tracey said when he first arrived at the city, there were always people causing mischief and leaving litter at the park. He said the police had a hard time monitoring it.
Tracey eventually asked Andrako if the city could try clearing the brush from the park to help visibility from the street.
“For the longest time, we never had the equipment to do that until the last several years,” Tracey said.
After that project was finished, Tracey said the city heard a lot of positive comments from residents. Andrako agreed, and said the “compliments started rolling in.”
The city then moved forward with the culvert extension on West Fifth Street and other improvements to the park. The city, Andrako said, was able to mitigate much of the cost of the materials used on those improvements. He said approximately $50,000 – about half of the total park improvement cost – was saved using recycled materials.
That includes secondhand materials from the recent parking lot project at the Marysville High School stadium. He said that project had stone that needed to be cleared from the site.
Instead of paying to remove it, the schools allowed the city to take it and use it for upcoming projects.
“They approached us and asked us if we were interested in it,” Andrako said. “And we were, so we stockpiled it for future use.”
The city also used recycled dirt from “various projects,” including Memorial Hospital’s current expansion.
The city used these materials mainly on the culvert extensions and on the new path that runs next to Fifth Street.
Andrako said much of that material is still unused and the city is still using it on various trail projects.
The city also has a deal with Ohio Ready Mix to use leftover concrete debris for city projects. The city hires a company to crush it, which makes it usable as a base material.
These types of deals aren’t new, according to Andrako.
“Typically when there’s a large project, the contractor that’s responsible for getting rid of the dirt, they check around local areas to see where they can get rid of it,” Andrako said.
Andrako said the city often takes advantage of these opportunities. The city also takes ground-up asphalt from road projects and saves it for later use.
“We are constantly looking for areas where we can get materials that can be reused,” Andrako said.
While the bulk of the work at American Legion Park is done, officials are looking to the future.
Andrako said he’d like to extend a trail from the park toward the police station on West Fifth Street and eventually down Raymond Road and over Mill Creek to the Jim Simmons Trail. He said that would help connect the city for those who enjoy walking or running. He also said some resurfacing of the parking lot could also be “in the cards.”
Tracey, for his part, is most happy with how good the park looked after the brush was cleared last year, as well as the bridge over the creek.
“It’s just a nice project,” he said. “We had fun and we look forward to some more like that.”

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