Santa Fe Park taking shape

Marianne Gillespie
The frame of the gazebo/small pavilion was set up last week as work on Santa Fe Park continues.

All the pieces of the Santa Fe Park puzzle are being placed on the almost 4-acre park.

Excitement is building as the project is on track to be done in mid-September.

“Friday will be a big day. They’ll put the building in, set the bridge and start the big stuff,” said Kevin Yates, Chillicothe Park District’s Director of Parks and Recreation.

Residents may grab a lawn chair and watch a big crane set all the pieces in their proper places. No one will be allowed on park property without a hard hat, Yates said.

Activity already has created a buzz around town as many noticed the delivery last week of some of the pieces.

The restroom facility will come in as one piece Friday and the gazebo/small pavilion’s frame is up.

Railroad-themed playground equipment also was delivered.

The five structures making up the splashpad, a water playground, already are on site.

Some are just as their names suggest: the Rooster Tail and Ground Geyser.

The Gateway Arch gives a straight spray of water, whereas the Water Tunnel, roughly 8 feet in diameter, uses a tunnel of mist to deliver the fun. The Water Tower looks like an old-time train water tower, said Kevin Yates, Chillicothe Park District’s Director of Parks and Recreation.

“Safe swap” also allows three pieces on the structures to be interchanged to vary what children expect when they visit the park. Additional pieces could be purchased in the future.

Yates estimates the project is about 60 to 65 percent finished, and should be on track to be complete in mid-September.

The rock area with a stone seating for parents around the splashpad can be seen now.

About 60 to 65 percent of the work is complete, but once all the buildings are up, the project will be closer to 85 percent complete.

The remaining items after that will be planting trees and grass as well as some landscaping work.

Residents have been buying brick pavers to show their support of the project which will be laid in the main area. One area is specifically for former railroad employees.

The brick pavers are $50, and applications can be found online at and click on the homepage at the bottom:

“What is Changing at Santa Fe Park In Chillicothe?”

For more information, contact the park district at 274-3409.

The deadline for pavers to be placed in time for the opening is nearing.

After then, the pavers will be placed once a year, Yates said, with room for about 500 total.

While waiting for the work to be complete, Yates reminds residents to observe the fence and caution tape around the park.

“We ask they stay off the equipment until we’re done,” said Yates for safety reasons.

While the park will open soon, a grand opening is being planned for next year.