The council approved a loan agreement for up to $5 million for the park last year after Councilor Rick Bell and his family donated 15 acres for the park adjacent to the Hamilton Springs development.
The council met with members of Lose and Associates, park design consultants, to discuss aspects of the park and its current $4.9 million estimated cost.
As designed, the proposed park will include pathways, pavilions, restrooms, a central water feature and an inclusive playground, as well as an event space, food truck plaza and dog parks for large and small dogs.
Councilors expressed concern about the potential cost and expressed they would not support any costs more than $5 million.
Lebanon Finance Commissioner Robert Springer said last year the resolutions authorize a 25-year fixed-rate loan, and the estimated debt service annually would be about $250,000 if the council approved to spend the entire $5 million. Springer said the interest rate would be 2.29 percent and subject to change every five years.
Bell said he believed the group could eliminate a multipurpose building, as well as one restroom facility, which would lower the cost by about $350,000, not including savings on utilities and other necessary parts of the buildings.
“Don Fox Park has been around for 20 years with one bathroom, and it’s worked out pretty well. I don’t necessarily think we need two bathroom facilities,” Bell said.
Councilor Rob Cesternino said he supported Bell’s thoughts and believed community involvement could also help lower the overall project cost.
“I believe for the amphitheater, once we build this park and we get the synergy that I know we’re going to get from it, that could be a public-private partnership,” said Cesternino, who noted the partnership could mirror fundraising efforts for the Wilson County Veterans Plaza. “We could go to companies, and if you went to a few companies, we could blink and have half a million dollars for that for some naming rights, because you’re going to get that synergy.”
Councilor Chris Crowell also discussed community involvement, but pointed to the efforts of volunteers with the Don Fox Park construction.
“As we get this out here, I would love to see some synergy, like you touched on Rob, like we had with the original Don Fox Park, where we had volunteers come out and work and get their hands dirty on it,” Crowell said. “Maybe, some professionals would kick in here and there and we’re able to manage the costs that way, and you increase the community in a project like this.”
The Lebanon West Side Park Task Force met last week to review the design development drawing.
“I am very pleased with the final design,” said Jeni Lind Brinkman, oversight task force chair. “The final plans reflect our key themes of connection and sustainable design, highlighting the natural elements of the topography and incorporating activities for all ages and levels. I believe this park will be an incredible addition to the city and am proud of the Task Force’s role in making this new park a reality.”