Saturday, November 23, 2002

Firm to design Milford park

Hillside, 19th-century cemetery pose challenges

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

MILFORD - A historic cemetery and an eroding hillside presented unique challenges to the Milford Parks and Recreation Committee in their plans to revitalize Carriage Way Park.

But this week, the city hired a design firm, Kinzelman, Kline and Gossman, they hope will be able to handle those obstacles and get plenty of comment from citizens. "It's really a different kind of park, and we really want to be sensitive," said Charlene Hinners, City Council's representative on the parks commission. "At the same time, it's the only park in that area of east Milford. We feel the firm really has a handle on it."

The 6-acre park on Old Carriage Way, which was closed in July between High Street and Riverside Drive, contains a cemetery operated in the 1800s by the International Order of Odd Fellows. Several state politicians from that era are buried there. The park also includes a steep hillside leading down to the Little Miami River and has had problems with erosion, said Jeff Wright, assistant city manager.

Rachelle Paap-Dickerson, one of the members of the parks commission and a teacher at Milford Junior High School, said she'd like to see elements of the river included in the park.

"We need to find a way to utilize the river, maybe by putting in a dock or a viewing point," she said.

The city has budgeted $60,000 for the park's revitalization, which is expected to begin in early summer. Mr. Wright said Kinzelman, Kline and Gossman, who also designed the city's master park plan, expects to complete the final design by spring.

David Whittaker, chairman of the parks commission, said he hopes the park will be the first of several in the revitalization process for other parks in the city. He wants the firm to design a park with pedestrian and bike-friendly access to the other parks, especially nearby Terrell Park, which also sits along the river.

But before the plans are complete, the city will host public meetings to hear what citizens would like to see in the park, Mr. Whittaker said.

"I think the firm really knows what we're trying to accomplish in the area and has a finger on the pulse of the community," Mr. Whittaker said.

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