Legislation would have city maintain East Green

Tiffin’s Law and Community Planning Committee agreed Thursday afternoon to send legislation to Tiffin City Council that would allow the city to sign a contract making the city responsible for maintenance at the East Green Complex.

The park, which includes an amphitheater and green space, was funded by National Machinery CEO Andrew Kalnow and two other foundations to which Kalnow is connected.

Mayor Aaron Montz said the first phase of the project, which includes the amphitheater and green space, is nearly complete while the second phase is being worked on. The second phase is to include a splash pad, sidewalks, green space, lighting, seating, trees, plants, walls and restrooms.

Montz said it’s important to note that no city money has been spent on the project.

He said the plan is for the park to be donated by Kalnow to Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. and to be maintained by the city.

The agreement committee members read Thursday states the city would agree to provide park management services such as trash and recycling collection, mowing, cleaning and landscaping. The city also would receive, review, approve and monitor applications for use of park facilities.

Montz said the only cost associated with taking on the complex is an increase to insurance prices and a possible bump in personnel costs.

City Administrator Dale Thornton said the insurance price for the remainder of 2018 is to be about $41 more with the park under the city’s policy. He said once the second phase of the park is complete, the insurance cost will be about $650 higher annually.

Lepard asked Park Director Bryce Kuhn if the department had the personnel to handle taking on a new park for maintenance.

“We definitely can make it happen,” Kuhn said.

Montz said the city may need to hire additional seasonal workers during the summer months to be able to maintain the new park.

Roberts relayed some concerns from the city’s park board including that the board did not want the state of other parks to suffer because of the addition of a new one.

“I’m confident we’ll be able to get this work done,” Montz said.¬†

He said the city is working out the details, but said the seasonal workers are low-cost options.

“We’ll evaluate things,” Montz said. “(The workers are) not much of a cost weighed against the public benefit of the park. A couple extra thousand is well worth it.”

Council members Steve Lepard and Jim Roberts each said they would prefer if alcohol was not made available at the new park.

Montz said current plans did not include permitting alcohol, but food trucks and other vendors would be able to access electricity and come to the site for events.

Thornton said because the pending contract allows the city to manage the property, they could set this rule.

Law Director Brent Howard said the city would not be able to accept the donation of the park from Kalnow if it did not have a clear benefit to the general public. He also emphasized the design and construction of the park had no city involvement.

Montz said he was excited for the park to open.

“This will become a major focal point for keeping people in Tiffin and bringing people here,” he said.

Lepard also said he was excited.

“I haven’t been up close yet, but the pavilion looks pretty amazing,” he said.

The pending contract is to be discussed and read for the first time at the June 18 council meeting and it also must be reviewed and agreed to by Kalnow. If the deal is approved by both parties, it would go into effect July 1 through the end of this year. Montz said after the six months is up, the parties would review the deal and make changes before discussing a more long-term agreement.

The amphitheater portion of the park is to host an inaugural summer concert series beginning July 7.