Thursday, July 19, 2012

Park #18: Amlin Crossing Park - Dublin

  Man, this one was WAAAAAAYYY out on the perimeter of Franklin County. The bus to Dublin, which runs very "sparsely" anyway, goes nowhere near this place. Oh well, nothing one can't get to via a trusty hunk o' junk bicycle.

  This was one of those villages that was a blink and you miss it type of place. No stores, just a bunch of farmland and a set of RR tracks which seems to be the place the locals hand out at (at least this particular day). The park itself was a small pocket park with the bonus of a very nice community garden. A couple ladies were out there working the garden when I visited. It wasn't yet stupid hot like its been in Ohio lately, so I strolled around for a little while. I didn't stay too long though since the light was fading and I knew I'd either have to take Riverside or Dublin Rd to get back to my home, and that is NOT a pleasant prospect with a bicycle, much less a bicycle with no lights (or rear brake on that day).

I'm guessing kitty is stalking a mouse.

Reading up on this place afterwards, turns out its the first community garden in Washington Township. Nice little place in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Park #17: American Addition Park - Columbus

   Urban boonies was the only thought that came to mind when I set foot in American Addition. After stepping off the bus at around 7 something in the AM, I was greeted by the sound of a rooster crowing. Very weird. As I walked around the neighborhood, It seemed somewhat abandoned. Not abandoned like my part of town where there are so many boarded up historic homes (1/10th, 1/20th of the buildings maybe?) with crack dealer slits cut in the wood covering the windows. It just seemed like a chunk of buildings were either never there or were never built. Something wasn't making sense. It was not a huge subdivision, and yes it was across from a dump and there were railroad tracks to the south and west, but it seemed there was too much space, too much... nothing???

  So those were my thoughts as I walked towards the park, which was a rather unremarkable pocket park compared with the strange vibe its neighborhood was giving off. I lost the original pics along when my phone vanished, but I've taken a new set since.

This iconic water tower sits a couple blocks away from American Addition.

As does this funky building, which I thought was piles of rocks or something when I originally saw it from a distance on the bus.

This lies at the entrance to the community. Its a very cute place and on that day, a group was putting some work in. Again, I am simply a sucker for gazebos.

HE stands guard

I swear I've seen this sculpture before. Any ideas? It looks really familiar.
   Some of my questions about this place were answered after I googled it after taking the original set of pics. The history of American Addition explains that it is the oldest black community in Ohio and most of the homes were torn down long ago. Its a mind blowing read and spawns some hope for those still there.

   I talked to one lady, who turned out to be Marie Moreland-Short from the Dispatch Story. She was a little hesitant to talk since I was some random stranger perhaps seeming nosy, but we ended up having a nice conversation. She had things to do anyway since the center pictured below was bustling with children. I wished her luck and told her she has a community to be proud of.

This was why I originally got that "urban boonies" vibe.

A very average park in a rather extraordinary place.

Pretty large, maybe a bit larger than a football field.

Hope blooms again

For HIGHLY recommended further info on this part of town, I suggest these documentaries which tell their story with interviews with some of the original residents. Very cool. They are  here and here.

Parks #14-16: Amberleigh/Amberleigh Community/Amberleigh Greenway Parks - Dublin

   These parks were visited in the midst of a COTA strike, so getting to them via my roomate's bicycle was a bit tricky seen that they are way out in Dublin north of the 270 Outerbelt. None the less, although Dublin is your typical sprawl of a suburb at least it has some thoughtful planning going for it. Oh, and some sort of golf tournament each year. Dublin has been nice enough to place bike/walking paths pretty much the whole of the route I took along with tunnels under the busy cross-streets to boot. That made using the bike soooooo much easier because otherwise it would have involved riding along the narrow, twisting, two lane, 45 MPH zoned Dublin Road, which would have been all sorts of non-fun.

  Besides the fact that the trek via bike was a hell of a haul from my neck of the woods in SE Columbus, and that the Amberleigh community was a run of the mill "McMansion" sort of place, I was highly impressed with the parks that I saw.

  The first was Amberleigh Park, a pocket park but a hell of a good one. Its basically at the end of a road and consists of a twisty boardwalk leading down, down, down, and more down to the Scioto River (upstream btw of all the grossness that is in the Downtown part of the river). The rather small section of woods they preserved made it a bit of an oasis (the thing, not the band) in the middle of the subdivision. There was a short trail running left right along the river and I found myself spending more time there since in was so enjoyable..

   Now I am an old-school expert on, um, unauthorized campfires having dedicated many of my teenage years fooling around illegally camping in Winton Woods County Park. I have to say, we would never ever leave a bonfire pit trashed, or so piss poorly used (they couldn't even seem to get the fire started). I could not help but notice that these upper middle class kids left about a dozen smoothie things, a couple bottled waters and but one mere beer. A word or two of advice, kids: Ditch the Dad and make it all beer :)

This was a very pleasant surprise. I heard him first then scrambled to take a pic. He stood still for the longest time and I was trying to get in close (which results in shaky blurry images). So I took about 15 pics and these 4 turned out usable. Thanks Deer.

   Back up the maze of twisty passages.. I rode on to Amberleigh Community Park. According to This the park was only opened in June. It does look fresh, but surprisingly finished for being such a new place. As is usual, I never look this stuff up before I go to these parks, so GO DUBLIN!!

This park retains a look of the farmland that it probably used to be. Very expansive. And when I came up to those little buildings on the left, I was like "what the hell is that??".

This has GOT to be the most unique playground I've seen yet. It almost reminds me of "Safety Town" which back in the '70s/'80s was set up in the parking lot of Tri-County Mall in Springdale (Cincinnati), OH to teach little kids about traffic. Very neat.

Big ass fireplace.

Gotta love a kid-sized cornhole set.

A very impressive shelterhouse. Winton Woods Park in Cincinnati never had such fancy ones, what with this one having a small kitchen and other amenities.

Dude. Friggin XYLOPHONES!!

Too cute. A peek inside of of the kid sized buildings.

   So it was back out of the Amberleigh scene along the Amberleigh Greenway with its cool tunnels to head out towards the next adventure. Dublin, I must say I am pretty impressed.
I'm a sucker for gazebos.

Don't photograph and bike, kids.