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Published: March 16, 2018 Author: Staff reports

The first draft of a concept plan for the Park Place corridor will be presented to the Ohio University Board of Trustees during its meeting March 22 and 23.

The Board will also consider resolutions approving the design and construction of the renovation of 29 Park Place and its Carriage House, with a cost of $2.3 million, as well as Konneker Alumni House, with a cost of $1.5 million. 

Park Place Planning Strategy

The Park Place Planning Strategy draft plan, which is not being considered for approval at the March meetings, presents project ideas with short-, medium-, and long-term achievability, including: widening sidewalks, screening the Alden Library loading and dumpster area, increasing pedestrian safety and walking zones, a new Alden Library porch with a stepped seating area, community gardens behind 29 Park Place, and reduction of traffic to one road with two way access.

The Park Place Planning Strategy working group, charged with developing draft recommendations, includes representatives from the University and the City of Athens. The group has analyzed feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders and is now seeking further input from the Board of Trustees before making any final recommendation.

“The Park Place Corridor is a key hub area for the University and Community. We have developed draft ideas that will enhance safety, preserve key historic elements, and provide opportunities for gathering and education.,” Associate Vice President for University Planning Shawna Bolin, co-chair of the Park Place Planning Strategy working group developing the plan, said.

The working group will continue with City of Athens and other stakeholder feedbacks and reviews and finalize recommendations to be submitted to Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis.

Small Houses updates

In addition to sharing draft recommendations for the Park Place Corridor, the University will be asking the Board of Trustees for approval for rehabilitation of two houses along the corridor. 29 Park Place and Carriage House, formerly a President’s residence, has been vacant and is in need of deferred maintenance repairs so that it can be utilized to meet University space needs. The house and carriage house will be repurposed as an Academic Engagement Center if the Board approves the request.

Konneker Alumni Center, a Foundation owned house, is occupied and is in need of repair to continue to be used. Konneker will remain the alumni center and would gain an ADA entrance, programmatic improvements, and other repairs.

The work on 29 Park Place, Carriage House, and Konneker Alumni Center will address deferred maintenance needs and allow utilization of the historic buildings to their highest and best uses. The 29 Park Place project is to be funded through the University’s internal bank, while the Konneker project will use internal bank resources with payback structure in review with the Ohio University Foundation. The Board of Trustees approval for the Konneker Alumni Center project is contingent upon a future Ohio University Foundation Board approval. Fundraising opportunities will be reviewed for both projects.

The house projects and the Park Place planning strategy will be discussed during the Board of Trustees’ Joint Committee meeting on March 22, in Walter Hall Governance Room 104. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and will be streamed online. Click here for a full review of other topics on the agenda.