PORTSMOUTH — The Scioto Foundation announces the establishment of a Market Square Park, LLC Endowment Fund designed to provide support for the maintenance of a new public outdoor space in the historic Boneyfiddle area of downtown Portsmouth.
The Market Square Park project envisioned by Dr. Michael Raies and his wife Dr. Kelly Raies, along with a seven-member board of directors, will create a multi-use park which will serve all residents of Scioto County and the surrounding area, according to the new nonprofit organization.
Market Square Park will be located on an approximate 1/3 acre plot of land situated at the corner of Second and Market Streets. Within walking distance to dozens of businesses and residences, its developers hope the park will become the entrance to the bustling Market Street commercial revitalization.
“Back in the early days of Winterfest in 2018 and 2019, Kelly and I saw that the magic of Market Street Square inspired the idea that the park property felt like the right location for gatherings and year-round use so we purchased that land,” said Mike Raies. “We wanted it to look like a little city park with neat green space. Then we started the process of gaining nonprofit status. We have been very excited to see that Market Street development was the number one feature in the “Elevate Portsmouth” Master Plan.”
The focal point of the park will be two water features that will provide both visual and interactive appeal to all ages, according to its designers. In the daytime an immersive or interactive fountain will offer children a fun outdoor experience highlighted with synchronized music. During evening hours, a light show will provide beautiful entertainment to supplement other activities.
“The park will not really be a playground,” Raies explained. “It will be created for multiple uses. The water feature will be a pop-up fountain or a ground spray, not a splash pad. It will be designed to still be suitable for Winterfest and the ice rink will fit over the concrete area of the fountain.”
Market Square Park will also include a pavilion which can be reserved for weddings, small gatherings and other programs, an open-air gazebo, and an outdoor stage for musical entertainment. A vendor village of small covered buildings will be able to be used by local merchants, and the park will also feature a popular food truck area as well as green spaces for farmer’s markets and public events.
Raies sees this summer as Phase One for the park’s time-line on construction. It will include surveying, creating drawings, putting out bids, prepping the land and completing the final design. Next summer Phase Two will bring the completion of the pop-up fountain as well as other features and structures.
“The estimated cost of the Market Square Park is over $1,000,000,” according to Raies, who also estimates that annual maintenance expenses could total $75,000 because a regular employee will have to hired to check on the water feature and ensure its operation.
The Market Square Park board of directors anticipates that funding from the state government’s capital improvements budget and the Glockner Family Foundation will give them a good start for the project, Raies said. They hope for additional support from local foundations, corporations, other governmental agencies and donations from the Scioto Foundation’s upcoming Scioto Gives campaign in October.
Contributions to The Market Square Park Endowment Fund from friends, businesses, other supporters and individuals or the general public may be made at any time. Donations may be made in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property.
Additional information about The Market Square Park Endowment Fund or other planned giving opportunities at the Scioto Foundation may be obtained by contacting Patty Tennant, Program Office – Donor Services, or SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip at (740) 354-4612.