Loveland has 15 parks, including five special-use parks. These parks total approximately 200 acres maintained by the city’s 13 Public Works employees. Lever Park is the latest among them to be improved with an upgrade under the leadership of current City Manager David Kennedy.
“Parks and the outdoors matter,” said Kennedy. “Recreation can improve quality of life, and Loveland is making that investment for its residents.”
The city has been aggressive in applying for state and county grants to secure funding for park improvements. These grants return residents’ state and county tax dollars back into the city to help stretch local funding for various park improvements.
In June 2021, the city executed a contract with H.C.S. Construction for the repair, resurfacing, and restriping of Lever Park’s basketball and tennis courts. This includes adding pickleball striping of the two tennis courts, ultimately creating four pickleball courts. The total cost of the project was $19,872.
“The Lever Park project shows the city is maintaining and improving its parks,” Kennedy said. “With the growing popularity of pickleball among our residents, it was important to add pickleball courts in another one of our city parks.”
Additionally, with Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, the city was able to install touchless sinks at Lever. A touchless drinking fountain will be installed later this summer.
Lever Park is not the only park in which the city invested and made improvements.
Other Park Improvements
McCoy Park — The city’s total investment to upgrade the park has been $145,000 with $90,500 of that funding received through state and county grants. Improvements began in 2017 with the replacement of McCoy’s playset and addition of a picnic shelter. In 2019, McCoy’s tennis and basketball courts were resurfaced, pickleball striping was added to the tennis court, and its parking lot was also repaved. In 2020, the city received a Clermont County Community Parks Improvement grant to fund a new swing-set, three benches, and two basketball goals/backboards.
Kiwanis Park — A new playset and swing-set were installed in Kiwanis Park in 2019. Then, in 2020, new basketball goals were also installed. GT Stottmann Field is located at the rear of the park, and improvements to the dugouts and pitching mounds have been made, thanks in part to the Loveland Youth Baseball Organization.
Phillips Park – In 2019, work was completed to repave the parking lot and walking trails in Phillips Park. More recently, repairs have been made to the park’s basketball court, and a new playset is scheduled for replacement in 2022. Also, CARES Act funding provided for touchless sink installation at the park. Because of the park’s proximity to Loveland High School, many students park their vehicles at Phillips and cross Rich Road to the school. In early 2021, a solar-powered, LED warning beacon was installed at the crosswalk near the park entrance to improve pedestrian safety. This project was funded through an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Safety Grant.
Boike Park – In early 2021, five tennis courts were removed at Boike Park adjacent to the high school. The courts were beyond repair and posed a safety risk. The area will be developed into youth soccer fields.
Village Anniversary Park – In 2015, parking spaces were added to make this park more accessible to visitors.
East Loveland Nature Preserve — A pre-fabricated footbridge was installed in 2016 to allow visitors easier access to the preserve. This footbridge was funded through a partial ODNR grant totaling $66,782. At that time, the parking lot that serves the preserve was also expanded and resurfaced.
Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail — Although not a city park, the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail runs through the heart of Downtown Loveland. The trail is a popular spot for bicyclists, as well as pedestrians. In 2018, the city applied and received an ODOT Safety Grant to improve the signage and pavement markings at the bike trail/road crossings at Harrison Avenue, West Loveland Avenue, and Broadway Street. In 2020, the city added a bike repair station in the Linda Cox Parking Lot; this lot is adjacent to the trail and a popular area for bicyclists to park. There is also a second city-owned bike repair station located in Nisbet Park.
Park Signage — Beginning in 2019, new park signs were installed at various park entrances with a plan to replace them all over the next several years.
Located in Downtown Loveland, Nisbet Park is one of the city’s most popular parks. In 2020, the park’s bathroom facility was renovated. Upgrades included a new roof; interior and exterior painting; new exterior doors; and new fixtures. The total project cost $25,685 with $18,294 of that received through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) NatureWorks grant program. Within this project, the city also was able to re-roof the picnic shelter adjacent to the restrooms.
In 2015, Nisbet’s playground was replaced, as well as a portion of the walking path leading up to the playground. In 2016, the picnic shelter near the river was repaired, correcting drainage issues and concrete damage. Both projects were funded through the ODNR NatureWorks grant program.
MORE PLANNING BY THE CITY :
The city plans to continue investing in its park system and recently has applied for funding to replace the gazebo at Nisbet Park. The park’s current gazebo needs repairs and is not utilized often due to its condition and size. The proposed gazebo will be in the same location, although larger to accommodate small concerts, family parties and weddings. If grant funding is approved, construction will begin in 2022.
The city’s Recreation Board is forming a park plan to further develop Loveland’s parks system. To explore Loveland’s parks, please visit http://www.lovelandoh.gov/174/Parks-Trails.