Gambier Village Council met Monday night to discuss potential internship opportunities for Kenyon students and plans for a new playground near Meadow Lane.
Mayor Leeman Kessler ’04 began the meeting by welcoming village resident Lisa Gichner, who will replace Harold Ballard on the Council’s Planning & Zoning Commission.
The Council then discussed potentially working with Kenyon’s Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) to create internship opportunities for Kenyon students in Gambier. According to Mayor Kessler, the Village has worked with Kenyon in the past to provide internships and research opportunities. One example was a geographic information system internship, for which Isak Davis ’20 worked with Village staff to catalog trees in the village using a handheld device that organized the geographic data into interactive, 3-D maps during the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. These maps can now be used to determine the best place to plant new trees in the village and the best types of trees to plant in specific locations.
Though there are no concrete plans yet, both the Village Council and OCP are excited to collaborate again in the near future to create similar opportunities for students. According to Assistant Director of Community Partnerships Alyssa Gómez Lawrence ’10, OCP has an advisory board made up of faculty, staff, students and community partners that is interested in partnering with Village Council to create more internships. “The Village has a lot of excellent nascent ideas that [Associate Director of Career Development Joshua Lisko] and I look forward to helping develop into robust internships and other potential projects that can strengthen the collaborative bonds and fabric of our community life,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian.
The Council also discussed their ongoing plans to build a playground in the area behind the Gambier Community Center on Meadow Lane. The Council members decided that the Planning & Zoning Committee should begin the bidding process to find a design architect for Phase 01 of the project. Phase 01 focuses primarily on developing earthwork in the area before adding clusters of logs and stumps, drainage pipe tunnels, a stainless steel slide and a swing set.
In terms of paying for the project, Council President Morgan Giles noted that the Council can apply for a grant from the Knox County Foundation by Jan. 15 in order to reduce the amount the Village spends. Because the plans for Phase 02 of the playground have not yet been finalized, the Council does not know what the total cost will be.
As work on the project progresses, Council members are excited for its completion. “Our Council has been collaborating and getting public input about making improvements to the park,” Village Administrator RC Wise wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Monday night’s Council action represents a significant step forward in making this natural playscape a reality.”
Village Council will next meet Dec. 5.