Monday, June 19, 2000

Lebanon has improvements planned for city parkland

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Christmas Tree Park, a low-profile patch of greenery in a high-profile spot, is in line for a sprucing-up.

        The small park now holds only its namesake tree, surrounded by an uninviting hedge, and a “Welcome to Lebanon” sign. It shares the busy Main Street and Broadway intersection with the Golden Lamb, City Hall and the library — but few visitors stop at the park.

        “It's not being used to its fullest potential,” said Robert Harris, city parks and recreation director.

        Resident Jerry Miller, an interior designer who also does landscaping, has offered to design the park — about 80 feet by 80 feet — for free. Former mayor Jackson Hedges has collected about $20,000 for the project, said Councilman Ben Cole, and the city is considering kicking in another $20,000.

        Benches, a fountain and lighting will likely be added but little else is definite. A wall or walkway depicting Lebanon's history is possible, Mr. Miller said. He'd like to pattern the park after mid-19th century American landscaping, with some bushes and perhaps a few tulips or other flowers.

        “It's going to be sort of a retreat,” Mr. Miller said.

        Christmas Tree Park isn't the only city parkland that's in line for improvements. Changes already are under way at the McClure Road soccer fields.

        A request for money to pave the parking lot is before City Council, and Mr. Harris has applied for a grant to provide up to $40,000 in trees in the lot so the city can abide by its new landscape ordinance.

        At other city parks:

        „Colonial Park North should have a new shelter house and a playground to replace “a dilapidated old lonely swing” by early September, Mr. Harris said.

        „Pleasant Square will soon have restrooms if City Council approves funding.

        „Miller Park, a 46-acre site, is still in the planning stages. Mr. Harris is applying for a grant to put in a couple of shelter houses, and other possibilities include playgrounds, ball fields and tennis courts.


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