Southside Community Park progressing quickly

Southside Community Park progressing quickly
Lori Feeney

The split-rail fence and the bridge are also complete at the new Southside Community Park in New Philadelphia.


Work on the new Southside Community Park in New Philadelphia is moving along quickly, according to Ron McAbier, service director for the city. McAbier outlined the progress in a report to city council during its Feb. 22 meeting.

“The nature trail is 95% complete, the pollinator garden is 60% complete, both restrooms are about 95% complete and the dog park is around 80% complete,” McAbier said. “The split-rail fence and the bridge are also complete.”

McAbier also reported a Community Development Block Grant will fund further sidewalk and curb improvements in 2022.

Council President Don Kemp said a ribbon-cutting ceremony and community event will be held to officially open the park to the public in June.

Administrative reports

Mayor Joel Day said the city health department has delivered 1,727 COVID-19 vaccines as of Feb. 22. They will continue to deliver the vaccines at Tuscora Park on Thursdays as long as there is a supply and demand for the vaccine.

Day also said Debbie and Jim Knisely, the owners of Alley Cats Marketplace, are bringing an indoor farmers’ market to town in late April. The market, which is named Fresh The Market, will be located in a renovated building at 150 First Drive SW. The market is currently seeking vendors of ice cream, produce, lettuces and artisan cheeses.

Law director Martin Fete said he is working with other city officials on developing new legislation to address abandoned properties in the city. Fete also said he authorized the purchase of iPads with keyboards for the attorneys in the prosecutor’s office.

Board and commission reports

Day said the planning commission met Feb. 9 and made several recommendations to the zoning and annexation committee. They recommended five properties be rezoned from industrial to business and four properties on West High Avenue be rezoned from residential to business.

Councilman John Zucal said the airport commission is considering relocating the beacon tower at Harry Clever Field. The tower is currently on property the city leases from Kent State Tuscarawas, and the commission is exploring options to relocate it on city property.

Councilwoman Aimee May said the cemetery board recently approved updated pricing.

Council committee reports

Councilman Rob Maurer said the finance committee is finalizing the 2021 permanent budget for council at the March 8 meeting.

Visitors’ comments

Wendy Zucal, executive director of the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, presented council with plans for the 250th anniversary celebration of Historic Schoenbrunn Village next year. She said a year of celebration will kick off on May 3, 2022. The village was settled by David Zeisberger on May 3, 1772.

“Schoenbrunn Village is a very significant site, and we should be proud that it’s here,” Zucal said. “It’s a location of many firsts in Ohio including the first settlement, the first school, the first church and the first code of laws.”

Zucal said four of the village’s original buildings are missing, and two will be rebuilt in time for the anniversary.


Council passed two ordinances. One will allow the service director to obtain bids and enter into a contract for sanitary landfill services for the city from May 15 to May 15, 2024. The second ordinance will allow the service director to obtain bids and enter into a contract for procuring various materials and supplies needed by the city in 2021.

Council also heard second readings of the following:

—An ordinance calling for defunct businesses to remove old signage.

—Several resolutions to approve mayoral appointments of Chris Bower, Alex McCarthy and Josh Limbacher to the airport commission for three-year terms.

—A resolution to approve the mayoral appointment of Jim Range to fulfill the unexpired five-year term of Mike Ernest on the park and recreation board.

—A resolution to commend Debbie Liebold, former victims’ advocate at the prosecutor’s office, for her dedication to the citizens of New Philadelphia.

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