Parks board approves new five-year master plan

Columbus Parks Board members have approved a new master plan for the parks system, which calls for an estimated $82 million investment in land and facilities during the next five years.

With little discussion or deliberation, the board voted unanimously to adopt the blueprint for future development that parks director Mark Jones said could go well beyond the five years listed in the plan, perhaps to 10 to 20 years.

The plan was put together by consultant Browning Day Mullins, Dierdorf, Indianapolis, and presented to about 20 members of the public Dec. 7 at Donner Center by consultant Ryan P. Cambridge, a planning practice leader for the company.

“So when we see requests for major repairs or installations, they should be framed against the master plan,” parks board member Julie Abedian said after asking how the plan will be used in the future.

The 250-page plan focuses on several recreational concentration areas, including increasing the amount of park land and recreation areas available to Columbus residents, creating a multi-generational hub for indoor recreation, athletics, fitness and programming, continuing to build trail infrastructure, more nature offerings and programming and further investment in Columbus’ two city-run golf courses.

The plan does not give a specific recommendation about the 70-year-old Donner Center, but points out the aging facility has significant maintenance issues that are hampering its use and currently does not meet the community’s need for a fitness or community center.

“We still have to figure out the indoor recreation part of the plan,” Jones told parks board members before the vote on Thursday night at Columbus City Hall.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.