Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Melanie Crabill
Director of Media Relations
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Kevin Kilbane
Director of Communications
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Media Advisory
News Date: July 14, 2022

Mayor Ginther Announces New Location for Community Sports Park

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced the Community Sports Park promised as part of the city’s commitment to keep the Crew in Columbus will be located at Kilbourne Run in Northeast Columbus. The 69-acre site will feature natural and synthetic turf fields, mini-pitches and a championship field with spectator stands, a locker room and lights, and co-branding with the Columbus Crew. 

“When we announced our support for the Columbus Crew, we were committed not only to soccer but to affordable housing around the new Downtown stadium, infrastructure in the Arena District to bring in new jobs, historic minority investment in the building of the stadium, assurance that Historic Crew Stadium did not become an abandoned facility in the middle of our neighborhoods, and a community sports park that would serve as a destination for youth and adult sports,” said Mayor Ginther. “We have delivered on every aspect, except the sports park, and I am excited that today we are able to advance this component that is so important to our residents.”

Original plans called for the sports park to be located on fairground property near Historic Crew Stadium. The City has worked in earnest to secure a lease to the site, but the Ohio Expositions Commission refused to grant a lease.

“While we leave the door open for negotiations with the state and remain prepared to invest in recreation facilities on the fairgrounds site, the community has waited long enough,” said Mayor Ginther.

The City of Columbus already owns and maintains Kilbourne Run, a soccer-specific facility, and will be investing millions of dollars to enhance it. In partnership with the Crew, who will use some of the fields for their Crew Academy, it will deliver fields and facilities that will increase access to soccer and other field sports for Columbus kids, and position Columbus as a destination for regional tournaments – far more than what could have been accomplished at the fairgrounds.

“At the Crew, we want to introduce the global sport of soccer to as many young people in the city as we can,” said Kristen Bernert, Columbus Crew President of Business Operations. “As we work to impactfully connect with the Columbus community, we want students to engage in physical activity in addition to their academic endeavors, to truly stay in the game. We take great pleasure in knowing that they, along with other residents of our community, will benefit from having an area to gather at the Community Sports Park and at our mini pitches throughout Central Ohio. We are excited about the City’s plans and we look forward to connecting more deeply with Columbus Recreation and Parks on programming here to bring the physical space to life.”

Investments in recreation and sports will go far beyond Kilbourne Run, Mayor Ginther announced. In addition, the City will begin work on a three-season pickleball tournament facility at Mock Park just three miles from Historic Crew Stadium and outdoor pickelball courts at:

  • Krumm Park located in east Columbus
  • McCoy Park in southwest Columbus
  • Gender Road Park in southeast Columbus
  • Anheuser-Busch Park in northwest Columbus

In addition, the City will begin work on a new East Broad Street campus focused on arts and senior programing featuring a 2-story, 40,000 square foot building that will house much of the programming originally held at Martin Janis Senior Center as well as the Golden Hobby Shop.

“As we focus on increasing amenities throughout the City of Columbus, this provides opportunity for all residents,” said Bernita A. Reese, CPRP, director of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. “We look forward to bringing to the community state-of-the-art facilities that meet a variety of needs.” 

The city’s 2022 capital budget and the proposed bond package this fall will prioritize investments in recreational facilities in underserved neighborhoods including:

  • the potential for a new aquatics facility near Howard Community Center
  • new park improvements at Case Road Sheep Farm to serve the Northwest
  • additional phased improvements of Anheuser-Busch Park
  • updates to Maloney Park in Linden 

 “By almost all accounts, the City’s commitment to keeping the Crew has paid off for much more than soccer fans – from infrastructure for office space and affordable housing near field to updates for parks and community facilities from right here at Kilbourne Run all the way to the South Side,” said City Councilmember Emmanuel Remy.

“Whether for keeping young people safe, or attracting families, or accommodating our growing city, more recreation opportunities are a critical investment to make across Columbus. And residents are eager for it,” said City Council President Pro Tem Liz Brown, who chairs the Recreation and Parks Committee. “These investments in all parts of the city are an exciting part of the future of Columbus Recreation and Parks.”

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