10/19/05 — Officials ask residents for input on Stoney Creek

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Officials ask residents for input on Stoney Creek

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 19, 2005 1:47 PM

As night fell on Stoney Creek Park Tuesday, city officials and area residents met to discuss its future.

Roughly 40 Goldsboro residents gathered at the Herman Park Center for a public forum sponsored by the Stoney Creek Park Development Committee. While many came to give their input on the park's new look, some, including Debbie Grant, simply sought an update on the progress of the project.

Sal Musarra

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Sal Musarra points out the Stoney Creek area on an overhead map of Goldsboro during a forum held at the Herman Park Center Tuesday night. Musarra asked for input from Goldsboro citizens on their vision of what the park should become.

"I want to know how far along things are and when the new park will officially open," Mrs. Grant said.

After a brief introduction, committee members turned the microphone over to representatives from Kimley-Horn and Associates, the firm in charge of the design and installation of Goldsboro's new park.

Sal Musarra, a consultant with the firm, began by sharing his vision and later called on neighbors to ask questions and make suggestions.

"This park should complement the community," Musarra said. "In order to succeed, we need your input."

Musarra added that the key element to designing any park is knowledge about the community in which it will be located. He said with the help of those in attendance, the firm could create a Goldsboro-specific feature.

Many neighbors stood up and shared their ideas and concerns. Scott Berkeley said he wanted to see an additional water feature included in the park.

"I'd like to see a lake or a pond down there," he said.

Bob Hawkins has lived in the neighborhood that borders Stoney Creek for years. His concern involved wildlife that he says exist in high numbers in the area.

"The area is heavily populated with deer and foxes," he said. "They're nice to look at, but they are a problem."

Other comments involved fear of future flooding of the property, maintenance and upkeep issues, access to the park, parking and safety.

"Safety is a big issue," Musarra said. "We hope that use of lighting and landscaping techniques will deter crime."

Musarra also said in his experiences as a designer and park-goer, the more a place is used, the less crime is associated with it.

While the majority of those in attendance said they were happy about the direction and scope of the project, a few were not. This small group said there were more pressing issues in Goldsboro than a new park, and added they feared a tax increase would be needed to pay for the project.

Parks and Recreation Director Neil Bartlett echoed statements he made earlier this month, telling the concerned residents that by enlarging the scope of the master plan, the city becomes eligible for both the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Grant.

These grants should take the burden off of taxpayers, he said.

Musarra and his associate Brian Akers, listed each idea and concern on a large piece of paper and addressed them individually after the public comment session.

"We will take these pieces of information back with us and do the best we can to address them in the master plan," Musarra said.

At the end of the meeting, City Manager Joe Huffman said he feels the new park will be a place that all city residents can enjoy and take pride in.

"I can't really see how this won't be a good thing," he said.

Now that the public has had its say, the project is expected to take off, officials said. No timetable has been given for opening day.