Kettering plans $460K landscaping project for park around Fraze Pavilion

KETTERING — The city plans a nearly half-million-dollar landscaping upgrade in Lincoln Park Civic Commons surrounding the Fraze Pavilion, home to events that annually draw more than 100,000 people.

The first part of the multi-year project at the civic commons in the heart of Kettering has been approved for 2022, when landscaping will be replaced for the first time in more than 25 years, city officials said.

“We do consider Lincoln Park Civic Commons our jewel in Kettering,” said Mary Beth O’Dell, city parks, recreation and cultural arts director. “And we maintain it to that level. We invest the necessary (money) to keep it that way.”

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

The landscaping work is planned in six phases over several years and is estimated to cost $460,860 upon completion, O’Dell said. The work is designed to bring “a new vibrance” to area.

“The plant material ... has been there for many, many years ... and they have outlived their lifespan,” O’Dell said.

Similar work has occurred at the government center and Delco Park in recent years, she said.

The first phase of the project will include an area just east of Commons Way near the Fraze entryway, O’Dell said.

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Last year, Councilman Bruce Duke and then-Mayor Don Patterson expressed reservations about removing some trees that make the atmosphere inside the pavilion “more intimate” and secluded.

O’Dell said those issues will be considered as plans move forward.

“We are looking at Don and Bruce’s comments and looking at alternate landscape options that retain that intimacy, but allows us to (install) new plant material,” she said. “Some of the trees that exist there now are getting close to their lifespan. So we’re going to be looking ... at options to present” to council.

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The civic commons and the Fraze have annually hosted concerts, free festivals and recreational and holiday events on Lincoln Park Boulevard since the 4,300-seat outdoor pavilion was completed 30 years ago.

The two sites are part of the 16.5-acre park that runs from Shroyer Road to Ackerman Boulevard. The park includes walking paths, a fishing pier/pond and hosts the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting near the Kettering Government Center.

Fraze events and festival attendance was about 147,000 in 2019, the last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the city.

Kettering’s budget for parks, recreation and cultural arts for this year is $14.34 million, 14.7% of the city’s total, records show.

Recreation, City Manager Mark Schwieterman has said, is viewed “almost as a core service as it relates to the quality of life” in Kettering.

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