MOUNT VERNON – Altruism knows no bounds as the Foundation Park Conservancy (FPC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has given the City of Mount Vernon the new Ariel~Foundation Park, a 250-acre repurposed green space near the historic downtown. On the site of the former Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) manufacturing plant, the area has been under development for years, and the organization who has been at the heart of the matter is excited to finally see this park ready for use.
“Many people believe in this park as a way of offering different recreational activities in a space that is friendly to everyone,” said Sam Barone, FPC member and Mount Vernon City Council member. “What I like about it is that you see children with their grandparents fishing or having a picnic together. That is just one of the activities that this park offers.”
River of Glass at Ariel-Foundation Park - photo by Carol Shurlow
Many people and organizations worked together to make this repurposed land reach a higher economic and cultural attraction to Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis pointed out that vision and effort have been the keys to this success. “The Foundation Park Conservancy provided the vision, the financial support and the energy to combine the original city owned Foundation Park with the repurposed PPG land and created the 250 acre Ariel~Foundation Park,” said Mavis. “Together the City and the Conservancy have moved forward into a new dimension for the city park system.”
Fellow FPC member Melanie Bolender is also excited to see all of the planning come to life. “Hundreds of individuals, organizations and companies contributed resources, time and energy to make this amazing park a reality,” said Bolender. “Others have generously sponsored the Grand Opening celebration which will mark the official beginning of the positive and beyond-ourimaginations impact Ariel-Foundation Park will have on our community.”
One of the more progressive actions that the FPC is doing to support the City of Mount Vernon is having established an endowment that will pay for some of the maintenance thereby minimizing the impact on city park funds.
“The Conservancy has raised (and is continuing to raise) money from private donations that will pay for personnel costs of mowing the grass and performing some other minor maintenance throughout the warmer months of the year,” said Barone. “The park, however, has been designed to be as low-maintenance as possible.”
The future of Ariel~Foundation Park is also slated to embrace a connection Kokosing Gap Trail and the Heart of Ohio Trail, all of which will drive more traffic to the center of Mount Vernon. Barone and proponents feel that this will bring even more economic and social benefit to the city.
“Parks offer many positive assets to any community,” said Barone. “Experiencing the park is really the only way to fully appreciate it, but having this in the center of Mount Vernon is going to attract business and visitors in addition to serving as a wonderful place of recreation for our residents.”
A Grand Opening Celebration for Ariel~Foundation Park is scheduled for July fourth, 2015, and is free and open to the public. More information about the event and the park is available at www.arielfoundationpark.org.