Worthington City Council is expected to approve the issuance of almost $4 million in bonds to continue upgrades around the little train car, softball diamonds and restrooms at McCord Park.
“McCord is definitely one of our premier parks and improvements have been discussed for many years,” said Darren Hurley, parks director. “We’re very excited to see this come full-circle and reach completion.”
The upgrades to the park, next to the Worthington Community Center, have come in two phases. The first was replacing the playground outside the center, re-locating the caboose and adding a shelter house and new ball fields. That was financed in 2020 by $1.8 million in bond sales.
While much of that phase is complete, Phase 2 calls for renovating four baseball/softball diamonds, replacing nearby restrooms and a storage building and completing a half-mile of multi-use trail around the park. A new entrance off East Wilson Bridge Road will also be added, Hurley said.
Athletes on the new fields likely won’t return from games with dirt stains. The infields on the ball diamonds will be replaced with artificial turf, saving hours per month of maintenance by city staff, said Hurley. Dugouts also will be added.
The latest round of bonds total $3,986,000 and are expected to be sold quickly. Builderscape, a commercial landscaper and general contractor in Marysville was awarded the contract.
City Council typically allocates about $150,000 per year from its general fund for parks upgrades, but bond financing was considered the best option for this, said David McCorkle, assistant city manager and development director.
Bond sales have historically been preferred over bond levies, said Scott Bartter, Worthington finance director.
“It allows us to make larger investments and allows future users of the assets to be making the payments,” Bartter said. The bond sales, likely to close in May, also are beneficial so as “not to increase the tax burden of residents.”
As for the wooden caboose, built in 1922 and purchased by William Rutherford, son of the original owners of Rutherford-Corbin Funeral Home in Worthington, Joe Hayes, president of Rutherford-Corbin, said it is now in good hands.
“It was used as a pool house (at an Upper Arlington home) for years and when the pool was taken out there was no use for it,” he said.