In 2019, Fairfield Parks Director Tiphanie Howard wants to “start living in” Marsh Park to see the park’s “full potential.”
The goal for Marsh Park, at 6440 River Road, is to be transformed into a recreation destination for just about all things nature. The park will be 175 total acres, which will include 60 acres of water, a 3.1-mile biking/walking trail that connects to the Great Miami River Trail, a dog park, and fishing and non-motorized boating. Thirty of the acres will be on the west side of River Road.
“The concept plan was built before we owned any of these properties, so I would like to take our staff and go on hikes and see what we can start doing and start living in the property — to see what is the park’s full potential,” Howard said.
The city is in the midst of constructing the dog park, which is about a half-mile south of the Marsh Park entrance between Lake Circle Drive and Gray Road. The park is set to open at 6611 River Road in the summer of 2019, and eventually be connected by the Great Miami.
The trail will cross River Road at the roundabout that will be constructed next year. Fairfield City Engineer Ben Mann said the city will advertise for bids in January and award it in February. There will also be a sidewalk added from the southern end of Mark Park to the neighborhood on the east side of River Road, he said.
“There’s not a walking entrance into Marsh Park, and this creates one,” Mann said.
And that adds to the plan to build connectivity, said Howard. That includes extending the Great Miami River trail, which ends in Fairfield at Waterworks Park, through Marsh Park and connecting it to the Hamilton County’s portion of the trail just south of the park.
City Council agreed to purchase 5 acres of land at 5709 and 5753 River Road to be able to extend the trail, which will help extend the trail through the park.
“This purchase will buffer the existing park property, provide future potential for this ground with frontage and view from River Road while allowing for a potential trailhead parking lot and multi-use trail connection to Waterworks Park,” said Fairfield City Manager Mark Wendling.
The city will pay $250,000 to Gail C. Laws, trustee of the Faye E. Groh Amended and Restated Trust for the property. An additional $8,600 will be spent to survey the property by Bayer Becker Engineer in order to complete the transaction by the end of the year.
But before anything is built in Marsh Park, millions of dollars will be needed to be invested in the undeveloped portions of Marsh Park. That includes things like shoring up the banks of two of the park’s three lakes, and installing underground infrastructure for water, sewer and electric.
A glimpse of the future, however, will happen this spring, Howard said.
“We’ll be getting into the boat business, so to speak,” she said. “We’re ready to unveil paddle board rentals — you can even bring your own — and kayaks and canoes.”