Plans to update and introduce new amenities at Welsh Park, located at 651 Russell Road, have long been in the works. The playground needed replacement and select amenities, like the roller hockey court, were no longer in use and disrepair. In fact, since early 2019, several public input meetings and presentations were held to discuss a master plan to refresh the park. The project also benefited other community initiatives such as the City of DeKalb’s Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan.
At a July 2019, Park Board meeting, the DeKalb Park Board approved a site master plan for Welsh Park and authorized staff to move forward with a grant application for OSLAD funds from the Department of Natural Resources. In January 2020, the District received word that they would receive a $385,800 matching grant for the renovation of the park, with DeKalb being one of 85 local communities that benefited from the OSLAD grant.
“The timing of the State grant funding could not have been more perfect. We were able to move forward with a complete renovation project rather than doing the amenities piecemeal over a longer period. We are excited about all of the great new recreational opportunities being provided to our residents,” stated Mat Emken, Superintendent of Parks and Development.
Working with Upland Design and Irving Construction, the renovation began in late July 2020 and was completed in early spring 2021. The Welsh Park improvements include a new playground, 8’ walking paths, a seasonal splash pad, game area, rain garden, pickleball courts, and a new full basketball court with bleachers and an accessible park connect with depressed curbs. The District also teamed up with DeKalb County Regional Office of Education to provide a home for their interactive Basics DeKalb County Toddler Garden, which offers early childhood, a sensory play experience.
The public, community members, and organizations that helped make this project possible are now invited to a special park dedication event on Saturday, May 15 from 1:00-3:00 pm at Welsh Park. Recognition speeches and ribbon-cutting will follow with some fun, pop-up activities, and refreshments. Activities include some ‘Minute-to-Win-It’ family-friendly challenge games with prizes, a pickleball demo, and open basketball. Basics DeKalb County will be on-site raffling off kids’ gardening kits and doing a Plant Buddy kids’ craft.
And if the weather permits, the splash pad, which is on a timer from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm daily, will officially be turned on for the season.