AURORA -- The city's master plan review commission is slated to conduct a public meeting July 25 to collect information from residents as it winds down its meetings before submitting a revised master plan.
The gathering will take place at 6 p.m. in the Walker Building on West Pioneer Trail in front of Aurora High.
The master plan review panel hopes to wind up its discussions in September, then make its recommendations to the planning commission and City Council.
Meanwhile, at the commission's June 13 meeting, Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin asked members to provide suggestions about a name for the former golf course that the city acquired for a park.
Country Club Park seemed to be the favorite among most members, although Fairway Park, Smythe Park, Kraus-Fellenstein Nature Preserve, Headwaters Preserve, River Links and Buried Mafia Bones were other suggestions.
The name Smythe comes from Alfred Burns Smythe, who partnered with the Aurora Land Co. to promote Aurora as the first commuter village to Cleveland.
Parks-Recreation Director Jim Kraus mentioned that Portage County already has a Headwaters Trail, so using Headwaters in the name could cause a conflict.
The master plan panel focused on parks at its June meeting, including the possibility of a future recreation center in town. Kraus said there are no specific plans at this time to build a rec center.
Emil Liszniansky of the consulting firm Envision said it would be appropriate for the panel to recommend a feasibility study take place for a recreation center, but should not make a formal request to build the facility.
Kraus said talks have taken place over the years of how to fund construction of a rec facility, how to fund operating costs, a location and whether to partner with other entities such as the schools, YMCAs or hospitals.
Tennis courts and a public swimming pool were discussed. It was noted there aren't adequate public tennis courts available in the city. Kraus said since Wildwater Kingdom closed, he has heard more requests for a public pool, but he doesn't hear requests for tennis courts that often.
Since several private pool opportunities are available, Kraus said that is a challenge when talking about a public pool.
Kraus did mention some projects that have been completed as far as parks qand recreation go are rehabilitated baseball fields, a new varsity softball field and a cross country course and soccer / ballfields at the Hartman farm.
Some panel suggestions to improve local parks were adding raised walkways through the Aurora Wetlands, a swimming area at Sunny Lake and an amphitheater at Veterans Memorial Park.
A fishing dock, benches, a bridal trail and picnic tables were other possibilities mentioned for Spring Hill Farm, and Liz Strahan Playground in the Geauga Lake area was mentioned as a neighborhood park to invest in.
Members cited trailhead design, picnic shelters, a hands-on nature center, observation tower and fishing pier as some possible passive amenities in the parks, while basketball courts, fitness equipment, a farmers' market and paved multi-use trails were active amenities cited.
The possibility of a brewery opening in town also was discussed. Liszniansky said the Station historic district would be an appropriate location for it, although the former Pioneer Tavern / Chamber of Commerce building lends itself to that use.
Planning-Zoning-Building Director Denise Januska explained the city is exploring an overlay district for the Town Center area to give it more of an identity. If that would work, additional overlay plans could be considered for the Station district.
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