Marion City Parks Department employs seven full-time staff and six seasonal staff. They operate and maintain 19 city parks, 21 green spaces, 14 ball fields, the aquatic center, and Marion Municipal Airport. Lincoln and McKinley parks have been in Marion for over 100 years.
“The goal of the Marion Parks Department is to provide and promote safe and well-maintained parks, recreation areas, and public lands,” says Superintendent Mike Cheney. “We serve our community by listening. I have listened to the community, to the Board of Park Commissioners, to the City Administration and Council, and to my staff.”
These oases of green provide residents with playgrounds, ball fields, courts, and picnic shelters to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.
Founders Park is home to Marion’s farmers market, summertime Third Thursdays, and Fitness at Founders. Downtown also has beautiful little Busby Park with its murals and benches, located outside of the soon-to-be-open Amato’s Woodfired Pizza.
The Marion Park department also operates and maintains the Lincoln Park Aquatic Center, as well as the baseball and softball complex. The “old” pool was razed during the winter of 2012. The deck was cracked and uneven and nearly everything was worn out. The new Aquatic Center was completed and opened in May 2012. In the winter, the large hill draws local families for sledding.
“The new Aquatic Center requires at least three times the lifeguards and support staff. There seems to be a higher level of pride with the staff, and there are much larger crowds using it,” says Cheney.
On the east side of town, there’s baseball and horseshoes all summer long at Garfield near Harding High School. One of the hardest to notice, nestled in the middle of Chateau Ridge, is 8-acre Chateau Park with its playground and basketball court.
Across from the Harding Memorial is Veterans Memorial Park, with its stately monuments to each of the major wars. The northern-most is Quarry Park, whose lake and trails can be accessed from both Hillman-Ford Road and West Fairground Street. This is a popular fishing spot.
The west side of Marion is dotted with small neighborhood parks, including Glenwood and Rotary on LaTourette Street with walking trails and soccer fields, Roosevelt on Bellefontaine, as well as Baldauf on Owens St. and Oakland on Uncapher Ave. There’s also Patterson and Olney and Martin Luther King Jr. Parks, on their namesake streets, respectively. Additionally, there is Brandy Winfield Memorial Park, occupying 8-acres on Blake Street, honoring Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy fallen in the line of duty in 2004.
Five Leadership Marion! classes through the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce have assisted the Parks Department. One, Marion PEP Club, recently opened the Marion Rotary Centennial Playground located in McKinley Park. McKinley Parks also hosts the summer concert series on Sunday evening. Another, Kaufman Dog Park Rescue Pack, has raised $10,000 to add upgrades to the dog park located in Kennedy Park. A third class improved the Dan Stewart Edible Forest & Community Garden at Sawyer-Ludwig Park by adding benches, planting trees, and cleaning up the beds. A fourth class started, Restore the Glory Marion, focused on the fields of Lincoln Park. In 2011, the first Leadership Marion! class to partner with the parks department worked to beautify Quarry Park.
Green spaces are city-owned grass properties without structures or park amenities. Examples include Forest Lawn Blvd between Church and Center Streets and the Quarry Street Cemetery. The Parks Department also assists with the maintenance of the downtown streetscape with flower planting, tree, and plant watering, and litter control.
Marion parks also host disc golf, pickleball, and wide-open spaces for children to run and play.
The parks department moved to Marion Municipal Airport in 2014. Additional information, such as shelter house reservations, can be found online at www.marionohio.us/parks or by calling 740-382-1634.
“All successful communities have community members who strive to rise above and beyond their expectations,” Cheney says of his department.