I went back to the list of ideas presented in Roger L. Kemp’s piece about downtown revitalization and chose the first item as a basis to build on, “Restoring and enhancing nature, such as ponds, parks, and even urban farms.”
Several years ago I was part of a discussion about Greenfield and one person described the idea of developing the area behind the Grain and Hay and the RR Depots as a community park. I don’t remember all the details but the major one involved restructuring or terracing the embankment leading down to Paint Creek and turning it into an amphitheater.
Several years later Greenfield received a grant and constructed a nice bicycle/walking path that parallels Paint Creek beginning at the bottom of South Street. At the time I suggested the city use it’s labor and equipment while the project was on going and clean up the creek area, thin out some of the trees and undergrowth, and reshape a portion of the creek bank making it more accessible to the public and to less able citizens. Turn the area between South Street and the woods near Felson Park into a public park and recreation area. Maybe secure permission from the Corps of Engineers to build a small stone dam to deepen the pool of water in that area for improved fishing, canoeing, etc.
I don’t know what such things would cost and since these original discussions the economy fell on its nose and the city has faced major budget problems. But, the ideas are still there and an argument can be made that investing in quality of life issues can help bring us back.
Since my friend proposed his amphitheater idea here’s what’s happened in that area of town. The Greenfield Historical Society has continued to develop its collection of museums there, a stone wall has been built along part of the Pioneer Cemetery, the bike path has been extended an extra several miles along Paint Creek, Felson Park sits awaiting greater use, and Paint Creek still offers scenic and recreational opportunities. The whole area can also easily be tied into and made accessible with Mitchell Park via the bike path. There is one huge potential public park well within walking and bicycle distance of any part of town. That’s one hell of a resource sitting just two blocks from the center of center of Greenfield’s business district. Someone else will have to deal with the cost and labor needed but to a average person it doesn’t seem like it would take too much to turn it all into a showplace of community involvement, concern, and pride.
Maybe the development of our creek bank could be the one thing that strikes a passing entrepreneur to stop and say, “This place, Greenfield, Ohio may be a great place to locate my new company.”