George W. Davis

GREEN: New York City has its famed Central Park, and the city of Green might be on the verge of boasting its own, albeit smaller, version within a few years.

During his report to City Council on Tuesday night, Mayor Dick Norton said the city’s Parks and Recreation Board has given unanimous approval to a concept plan to turn almost 6 acres of vacant, city-owned land into “Central Park” — in what Norton envisions as the center of the city.

The land is just south of the pond adjacent to the Central Administration Building and extends south to Steese Road and Green Intermediate School, Norton said.

He plans to bring OHM Advisors, an architectural, engineering and planning firm in Columbus, to Green to share its Central Park concept. Personnel with the firm created the concept plan, Norton said.

“If we get the support of City Council, then we will come back later with architectural designs,” the mayor said.

Included in the concept are an amphitheater, three splash pools, two playgrounds, more than a mile of walking trails with pieces of exercise equipment placed along the way, and a staging area for community events.

To make the park an all-seasons facility, Norton said a pavilion that could be enclosed during inclement weather would be included.

Norton said he hopes to begin building the park facilities by late next year with completion in late 2015 or early 2016.

“This would be a major entity for central Green,” he said.

Funds for merit raises

In other action Tuesday, nonbargaining city employees could be in line for merit raises after City Council authorized $47,171 for that purpose.

Who will receive the increases and in what amounts will be determined by department directors rather than through across-the-board increases, said Jeanne Greco, the city’s human resources manager.

Council also amended the city’s compensation system by updating the salary range schedule for nonbargaining-unit employees.

The moves were designed to keep Green competitive with other communities, allowing the city to retain good employees and attract others to the city to fill vacancies, officials said.