MOUNT VERNON — Three and-a-half years is a long time when a community like Mount Vernon gets behind a project and hands Ted Schnormeier the keys.
Thursday evening, several dozen community leaders assembled at the B&O Railroad Depot for an update on Ariel-Foundation Park from Schnormeier, the project’s volunteer administrator. At a similar gathering in 2010, folks heard hopes and dreams that to some resembled pie in the sky. This time, however, they saw tangible progress and $4.5 million reasons for optimism.
In opening comments, Foundation Park Conservancy President Kim Rose acknowledged having been through “some pretty dark days with nothing but a few hundred dollars in the checking account.” None were darker than the day Rose and his colleagues realized that the first set of architectural plans for the park were DOA. The artist renderings were fabulous, but short of a full sponsorship from Powerball, the $30 million price tag was far north of over the top.
It was back to the drawing board. The conservancy turned to Schnormeier, who in turn called on landscape architect Bob Stovicek. The men had a proven track record, having collaborated on the design and execution of the unique and beautiful Schnormeier Gardens in Gambier. Both men knew landscape architecture, and just as importantly they knew the difference between a financial plan and a fantasy.
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