Hamilton has made major upgrades to its parks in recent years. Here are the biggest.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Hamilton's Marcum Park named one of 5 Great Public Spaces in America by the American Planning Association

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Parks in the city, which have seen significant upgrades in recent years, continued to gain improvements during 2018, and they received 11 new playground- and swing sets during the year, bringing to 18 the number added the past four years.

The Hamilton Parks Conservancy, which finished its fourth year of managing parks for the city, also added a new park that its director, Steve Timmer, on Wednesday told Hamilton City Council will be called Jefferson Park.

It is the 1.2-acre property at the corner of Hensley and East avenues in the Jefferson neighborhood that Hamilton natives Frank and Joanne Pfirman, whose family owns Matandy Steel, J.N. Linsorse and Lamp Metal Trusses, donated for the purpose. Playground equipment already has been installed at the park, which is next to the Boys & Girls Club.

ExploreFIRST REPORT: Hamilton family donates land to neighborhood for new park

City Manager Joshua Smith told Timmer at Wednesday’s council meeting that developers have noticed the upgrades

“We had a developer in town yesterday that talked about our parks in particular, and how that was such a huge attraction to them as they were contemplating where to invest significant capital dollars,” Smith said. “So thank you for what you’ve done, because when developers come and say, ‘Hey, this is what our residents want when we look at building new residential complexes,’ all I can say is thank you. It’s a night-and day difference.”

Timmer said he was happy to create the new Jefferson park.

“Originally, some city officials came to us and said, ‘Would you take another park on?’” Timmer said. “When they told me the location, I said, ‘Absolutely. That’s a really dead area, and we’d like to put something there.’ And they asked, ‘Well, maybe three to five years?’ I said, ‘If I can raise $50,000, we’ll have it done before the kids get out of school,’ and by golly, we’re going to.”

Some other recent developments:

• Schuster Park in the Lindenwald neighborhood was one of the 11 parks to receive a new playscape.

• An interactive water sculpture was installed at Marcum Park, the award-winning new park downtown.

• Six park shelters received new roofs, were painted and reinforced.

• The Beckett Lodge, the log cabin in Joyce Park, was upgraded and will be available for parties this spring.

• Troy and Kathy Schwable and numerous volunteers have led the effort to create a nature center at the former Joe Nuxhall Driving Range building in Joyce Park, which had become dilapidated. It soon will be decorated with murald depicting animals that serve as pollinators.

RELATED: Volunteers creating nature center from old golf building in Hamilton

• Marcum Park last year was named "One of Five Great Spaces in America.

RELATED: Hamilton’s Marcum Park was named one of five Great Public Spaces in the U.S. Here’s why.

• The conservancy last year re-activated Beeler Park and Kingston Park. Both parks received playscapes to replace ones that were removed many years ago.

• A “Live Your Dreams” sculpture by Dale Rogers was added at Joyce Park.

• Marcum Park has yoga during Hamilton Flea! events, the curated flea market that takes place the second Saturday of the month from May through September.

• Four murals were added as part of the “Arts in the Parks” program, which is funded entirely through private donations. The murals were added at Joyce Park, Benninghofen Park, the Booker T. Washington Splash Pad and Millikin Woods.

• Progress continued on the 200-acre Riverside Natural Area.

RELATED: Hamilton’s 200-acre Riverside Natural Area a boon to bird-watchers

• In connection with the summer concert series at the RiversEdge amphitheater at Marcum Park, the Great Miami Rowing Center during the summer allowed people, for free, to use kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on the river while the music from the concert played.

RELATED: Kayaking to the music on the Great Miami a new thing in Hamilton

• The Hamilton River Plan, which Hamilton City Council approved in June, called for several new parks as the area develops, with that development sparked by the gigantic indoor sports complex and convention center, Spooky Nook at Champion Mill, which is to open at the former Champion Paper mill in mid-2021.

ExploreRELATED: New parks, other features, planned as part of Hamilton River Plan

MORE: Tour of ‘The Nook’ brings visions of what could be in Hamilton

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