Development of new Oak Harbor park complex moves forward
— Created April 28, 2021 by Kacie Jo Voeller
By Kacie Jo Voeller
Oak Harbor now has another multi-use park in its future. In a city council meeting held April 20, council members voted unanimously to rezone two parcels of land comprising 75 acres from Planned Industrial Park (PIP) to Public Facilities (PF). The land was also designated as a city park by the council. The parcels, commonly referred to as Harbor Heights, are located near Gun Club Road and will eventually be home to a community sports complex.
Joel Servatius, a member of the council, said during the meeting he felt the rezoning was an important step in creating a future space to serve the community.
“I would also just like to thank staff and everyone involved in this process,” he said. “I think for those of us that are here it is one of those landmark events that is starting what will hopefully be a regional place in Oak Harbor that people will come to. So, it may seem like a simple gesture getting this process started by changing the zoning, but I think it is an actual landmark or watershed event.”
Sabrina Combs, communications/IT manager for the City of Oak Harbor, said in an email the approval and rezoning will allow the next stages of the project to move forward.
“Designating the Harbor Heights Sports Complex property as a city park allows the police department to enforce Oak Harbor Municipal Code requirements for city parks,” she said. “The next step in the process is to initiate the phase one project design and permitting elements as part of the Recreation Conservation Office (RCO) grant for the construction of two soccer fields and 50 parking spaces. Note, a decision regarding the name of the park has not been made yet.”
Combs said the timeline for phase one construction is planned to take place between February 2022 through August 2022.
“This timeline is determined to meet construction requirements before the RCO grant closure in December 2022,” she said. “The timelines for subsequent phases of the project have not been determined yet.”
The land was selected in an effort to support continued development in Oak Harbor according to the city’s plans, Combs said.
“The Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan identified the need for a community park in the northwest quadrant of the city through a spatial level-of-service analysis,” she said. “As other factors such as the relocation of fields from Fort Nugent was needed, there was a need for acreage and these properties seemed to fit the purpose.”
Combs said the hope is the park will serve as a way to help expand recreation in Oak Harbor.
“The Harbor Heights Sports Complex park will provide additional recreational opportunities for the community, address lost soccer fields after the Oak Harbor School District constructs the new school on the Fort Nugent property, and provide sports tourism opportunities in the future to assist the local economy,” she said.
Combs said Oak Harbor has focused on continuing to pursue the plans it put forth in 2019.
“The city adopted a Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan in 2019 and it provides the long-term planning for city Parks,” she said. “Development of this space meets the objectives of the plan and guiding principles outlined in the Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan.”
Combs said Oak Harbor spent several months gathering community input and researching various concept designs. She said the concept designs include, but are not limited to, elements such as disc golf, a bike course, multi-use fields, soccer fields, baseball fields, T-ball fields, walking areas, a play area, parking, maintenance, concession, bathrooms and other amenities.
“The consultants mapped out several different activities to fill the 75-acre space and provided parking, access routes, and other features to meet the needs of our growing community,” she said.
Combs said currently, completing phase one is the main objective for the newly-designated park.
“The focus at this time is on the first phase for two soccer fields and 50 parking spaces,” she said.
For more information on the project and to view the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan, visit oakharbor.org. A virtual tour of proposed concept designs for the park can be viewed on Youtube at the following link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE25mAkjNoY.