Centerville and developer Oberer Realty are moving ahead with plans involving one of the key central features of the Cornerstone North development: the community park.
Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Centerville seeks Clean Ohio funds for Cornerstone park project

City officials approved a resolution to seek Clean Ohio Grant funds to pay for improvements at the site.

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To qualify for Clean Ohio funds, a government has to own the property its seeking to make improvements to.

As it stands, the park land is owned by the developer, but if the city gets the grant, they will use the money to pay Oberer to acquire the park land and then make improvements, officials said.

“This is the very initial beginning of getting the process started,” John Davis, city spokesman, explained. “Council said, ‘Yes, we are going forward with this process.’”

Centerville’s Planning Commission is prepared to hear the details at its Tuesday meeting after council’s approval in a special session last week.

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“There is all kind of moving parts with this process,” Davis said. “So the Planning Commission plans to hear on Tuesday what the process is and where we are going.”

The park has been discussed for years as a key part of Cornerstone of Centerville, complementing the ongoing development of restaurants, retail, hotel and apartments.

However, the city and Oberer have disagreed in the past about how to fund the park and its maintenance.

The property where Cornerstone sits was annexed from Sugarcreek Twp. to Centerville in 2006, but remains part of Greene County.

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Oberer has the ability to transfer ownership to another entity — like an area park district — if they came to an agreement, though Centerville would have to sign off on the transfer.

The planned park — on more than 20 acres and around an existing pond — is proposed to have features like a small amphitheater, trail looping around the pond and picnic area.

City Manager Wayne Davis said the park would bring a new recreation option in the city, where there isn’t much similar for amenities.

“We would like it to be a central amenity for job growth and more economic development to a critical project,” Davis said.

The Clean Ohio Fund restores, protects, and connects Ohio’s important natural and urban places by preserving green space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation, and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.

This program is dedicated to environmental conservation including acquisition of green space and the protection and enhancement of river and stream corridors. Grant recipients agree to maintain the properties in perpetuity.

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