ASHLAND -- The Ashland County Park District has decided to update the parking area surrounding the barn at Freer Field after receiving $300,000 in state funding.
Two asphalt parking lots will be installed encircling the building: one near the front side of the barn and the other on the lower-elevated ground located adjacent to where visitors drive in.
“We are looking to make improvements near the barn at Freer Field," said Stephanie Featheringill, administrative director of the Ashland County Park District. "That will include the installation of two parking lots.
"One will be 23 spots and one of them will be 25 spots."
There will also be a seating plaza installed with benches, shrubbery and trees. A retaining wall will need to be established due to the sloped terrain.
New walkways will connect the parking lots to the barn as well.
In addition to the parking lots, the Ashland County Park District will be inaugurating a natural boundary of plants between the stretch of Morgan Avenue and Freer Field. This will separate the street residents' yardage from the county park.
The breed of foliage has yet to be determined, but the park district may seek the opinion of a landscape design company to mull over its options. Once the Ashland County Park District has received the funds, Featheringill predicts this project will be completed within a year and will be used for daily park operation.
“Sometimes during the summer when it is a really nice day, there will be at least 10 cars that will be parked in the grass area," said Featheringill. "We’ve already expanded the parking lot on Park Street, because we will be having a future office building.
"This is very exciting because it is our step one to renovating the barn.”
In the future, the barn on the property will become a venue that can be reserved for events such as weddings, graduation parties, birthdays and other communal gatherings. It will become available for usage during the Spring, Summer and Fall.
A second exit will be constructed into the side of the barn and restrooms will also be installed. This bathroom area will likely be accessible to those inside and outside of the building.
The Ohio Bicentennial logo that once adorned the building was taken down to paint the structure.
“We did paint the barn this summer," Featheringill said. "We’re also in the process of discussing logos.”
Featheringill mentioned there are conversations happening regarding what logo will be painted back onto the barn – whether its the Ashland County Park District logo and/or a repainted Ohio Bicentennial logo.
“We are incredibly thankful and fortunate that the Park District will receive this funding," Featheringill said. "This will be of great use to provide to the public for anybody visiting Freer Field.”