Church’s park proposal would be a great addition

YET ANOTHER PRIVATE GROUP is stepping up to make another public space in the city attractive and useful.

Representatives of the Plymouth Alliance Church on Fairview Drive presented preliminary plans for converting about nine acres of their property north of the church building into a park.

The project, dubbed Outreach Park, would include a pavilion and lawn, activity field, play area, walking/ exercise/nature trails, ponds, labyrinth and more. It would also retain the church’s current community garden spaces on another part of the property.

Church member Sally Isely told the commission, “Our plan is to develop the land … into a community park that would be open to the public, not just church members.”

Coming on the heels of the collaborative effort between the city and the Plymouth Lions Club, with the aid of numerous individual, group and business supporters, to improve the Stayer Park area in downtown Plymouth, the church’s plans are a welcome idea.

The property is located on the southeast corner of the intersection of Fairview Drive/County O and State 23 on the city’s north side. It is one of the busiest gateways into and out of the city, especially during the County Fair and other events at the fairgrounds.

The Alliance Church plans would turn that gateway into an attractive and welcoming green space for visitors to the city, a vast improvement over the prairie grass and open fields that are there now.

The church would be able to utilize the park and pavilion for many of its programs, activities and events, enhancing their congregation.

To open it up to the public as well is a truly magnanimous and laudable gesture by the church. It will certainly be a welcome addition to the neighborhood the church borders on.

Isely and fellow church member Bob Moeller told the commission the church is still unsure of a timetable for completing the project and that it could take from a few years to a few decades.

The first step will be the pavilion just to the north of the church and parking lot, which the church hopes to move forward with as quickly as possible.

As the only freestanding structure in the proposal, the pavilion would be the only item the Plan Commission would need to approve. The rest, as landscaping and such, would not require city approval, but city officials pledged to work with the church to help move the project forward as much as possible.

It may wind up with a different name eventually, but Outreach Park is a good summation of the spirit and intent of the project. Here’s hoping that the members of Plymouth Alliance Church can find the means to make their dream a reality and bring a bit of beauty and nature one of to the city’s front doors.

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