Xenia to add over $300K in upgrades to city’s largest park

The city hopes the improvements will make Sol Arnovitz Park a regional attraction.

The City of Xenia is planning to add over $300,000 in upgrades to Sol Arnovitz Park on Towler Road to make it a regional destination, according to city officials.

Sol Arnoitz Park, about 21 acres of land on Towler Road, is the city’s largest park, but is mostly undeveloped due to the park’s floodplain, creek and slopes, according to city documents.

“It’s a beautiful park,” said Brian Forschner, the city planner. “Its got a stream and beautiful mature trees and some typography. It’s just a great place to get out in the woods and hike around and explore.”

Sol Arnovitz is one of four city parks designated in 2015 to receive up to $1 million in improvements.

The park has been “dramatically underutilized by the public,” said Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman. The park is adjacent to the Creekside Trail, but it is not easily accessible by a large residential population.

Two pedestrian bridges, that total about $282,694, mark one of the most significant upgrades to the park, according to city officials.

“The pedestrian bridges are intended to provide greater access,” Merriman said. “There are a number of streams and waterways that run through that park, so accessibility within different portions of the park have always been a problem.”

One bridge will be installed near the park entrance and a second bridge will be added to join two separate parts of the park. Currently parks users have to travel between the two sections of the park by stepping on stones in a waterway.

The city received a $27,500 state grant to help cover the cost of the bridges.

The city has also added an 18-hole disc golf course using a $10,000 donation from the Xenia Rotary Club.

“It’s going to bring a new unique amenity to Xenia that I think is going to attract a lot of people not just from within the community but from the region,” Forschner said. “We’ve partnered with some disc golf specialists from regional disc golf associations who want to promote this course, program it and hold competitions here.

Baskets for the disc golf course have been installed throughout the park, however signs along the course will not be added until the bridges have been installed, according to city staff.

“It’s going to be an amenity for people within Xenia,” Forschner said. “It’s an affordable sport. Its easy to pick up and do. You just need a Frisbee.”

Park accessibility will also be improved with a half mile trail that will loop around the park, according to city staff.

The city planned the upgrades after surveying residents and recreation stakeholders in 2014 to learn more about the city’s recreation needs and identify improvements to parks and recreation facilities. City staff used the survey results to develop a facility improvement plan which included adding enhancements to Sterling Green and Sol Arnovitz parks and Xenia Station.

“We feel like this is attracting a whole new audience,” Merriman said. “Not only to local users but may attract folks outside the community to come into Xenia and experience the quality of the amenities in our community.”