Fairfield to build 100-person pavilion at Harbin Park as part of renovation

Entire project could cost more than $5 million over four years.

The next step in the first phase of Harbin Park’s redevelopment is to build a new ICON pavilion.

Fairfield City Council approved a $220,495 contract with Harrison-based Gametime to construct a 31-foot-by-51-foot custom-built ICON pavilion at the park’s scenic overlook.

“In response to the growing tourism in the county, this project will be an effective and coordinated response to the region’s needs by attracting regional and national events in partnership with the Butler County Visitor’s Bureau,” said Fairfield Parks and Recreation Director Tiphanie Mays. “Economically, the renovations will also benefit our retention and attraction efforts for seeking a quality mix of businesses and residents in an effort to sustain our financial base.”

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Harbin Park is more than 200 acres and considered a regional destination, but the park hasn’t seen significant improvements since it opened in the 1970s. Recreational opportunities include the aforementioned scenic overlook as well as picnic shelters, playgrounds, a lighted sledding hill, paved bike and hiking paths, mountain bike trails, nature trails, tennis and pickleball courts, basketball courts, disc golf course, and large natural expanses.

The redevelopment will see an overhaul of all corners of the park, but first, the city will revamp the scenic overlook which includes demolition of the adjacent stone shelter, constructing the pavilion, and adding restrooms. This would also replace the need for the four shelters in the central part of the park.

“What we found was that the picnic area in the upper part of Harbin ― there are four shelters ― a majority of people renting those shelters were renting all four,” said Mays, for family reunions, for bigger private events. “The concept was to replace the four individual shelters with one big one.”

The pavilion will accommodate 100 people.

Renovating the scenic overlook will include more than the pavilion construction and restrooms, said Mays. It also includes regrading of the hill, most used for sled riding during the winter, and expanding the park’s bike and walking trail. The total price tag for Phase 1 is $1.4 million, and $700,000 came from the state capital budget.

Phase 1 should be completed by June 2022, Mays said.

In Phase 2 of the renovation, the area that incorporates the playground and four small shelters will be replaced with a play area and medium-sized shelters that could accommodate 50 people. Phase 2 is expected to be bid in 2022, and the city is expected to seek capital budget funding.

Phases 3 and 4 will include renovations of disc golf, lower shelters, improved restrooms, tennis courts, internal trail connection, new directional signs, and an upgraded park entrance.

The four-phase, four-year renovation project is expected to cost between $4.8 million to $5.2 million.

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