Polley Field

Nelsonville’s Polley Field is seen in this file photo from earlier in 2019.

NELSONVILLE — Polley Field is one of Nelsonville’s beloved community assets, but local organizations and the city administration are concerned it’s not accessible for much of the community.

A project that’s been in the works for over a year now aims to fix that problem through five different initiatives. Sean Brooks, community development manager for Hocking Athens Perry Community Action (HAPCAP), said the project represents a comprehensive attempt to make the portion of Nelsonville surrounding Polley Field more accessible and usable for residents.

“We did a little bit of research and determined that most neighborhoods are within a ten minute walk of a park in a urban setting,” Brooks said. “So we highlighted a ten minute walk from Polley Field and used that as a centerpiece for this project.

“Everything that we’re doing has some relation to getting you to Polley Field, or from Polley Field. We know it’s kind of the forgotten park of Nelsonville, but it’s a nice area,” Brooks concluded.

Currently, the first portion of the project has been bid out for a third time, for which three companies have submitted bids: KAL Electric Inc., of Athens, submitted a bid for $189,750; Jess Howard Electric, of Blacklick, Ohio, submitted a bid for $189,932.95; and Ed Green Electric Inc., of Logan, submitted a bid for $202,000.

Simons is hopeful at least one of the three bids received could be accepted. This portion of the project deals with security at Polley Field, which is next to the Hocking River and across old Rt. 33 for much of town.

This first section of the project has been estimated at $172,727 with a maximum bid allowed of $190,000, according to the bid documents. Bidding the project has been difficult due to the complexity of electrical work outlined. HAPCAP is implementing the project on behalf of the city of Nelsonville.

This piece of the project will provide security lighting and security video monitoring for the field, which will be monitored by the Nelsonville Police Department.

The total project budget is about $650,000 — $500,000 of that is grant funding, $100,000 is from the city of Nelsonville, and $50,000 is matching allocation funds from the Athens County Commissioners, according to Brooks.

The other parts of the project include installing a water line and fire hydrant at the field, as there is currently only one small water line running to the concession stand; four other fire hydrant replaces with valves; sidewalk repair in the Poplar and Chestnut Street areas, as well as a new sidewalk on Second Street; and two crosswalks to get across Rt. 13, as well as shared road signage for Watkins Street leading to the field.

“The whole idea is the bike path goes there, and the people on the side of town near the highway are kind of isolated over there without any real safe passage to get across,” Brooks said. “So that is our effort: get people across town to the field, try to provide some infrastructure at the field, and then sidewalk repair in the surrounding sidewalks. “

The project grant will be discontinued by the end of August, removing the funding from HAPCAP’s control, so Brooks and the HAPCAP team hope to pick up the pace with the four remaining sections of the project.

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