07/16/08 — Stoney Creek Park committee postpones forums

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Stoney Creek Park committee postpones forums

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on July 16, 2008 1:44 PM

Goldsboro residents will have to wait a while longer to have their say about plans for Stoney Creek Park.

A community forum scheduled for Thursday by the Stoney Creek Park Alliance has been postponed, with members saying they want to be certain of the City Council's backing before holding a public meeting.

At the council's last meeting, councilmen questioned the proposed cost of designing the park's initial phase. The consulting firm of Kimley-Horn submitted bids of $85,000 for the design without a pond and $118,000 with a pond.

Some council members weren't sure Kimley-Horn is the right company for the job.

Parks and Recreation Director Sonya Shaw said Kimley-Horn was chosen because they started with the project nearly four years ago.

Alliance members also had concerns over the proposal amount.

For permitting, the fee listed in the proposal is "hourly $10,000," and for limited construction phase services, the fee is listed as "hourly $12,000."

"I hope that's a typo," Alliance Chairman Dr. Peter Roethling said at the alliance's last meeting.

Mrs. Shaw said that the price is likely a cap on areas that are based on hourly rates.

Kimley-Horn also proposed charging $800 for each alliance meeting that its representatives attend, $2,000 for each public meeting and $1,800 for each internal client meeting.

"Do we necessarily need them there?" Roethling asked.

Public meetings will still likely be held Aug. 19 and 20, but alliance members are expected to discuss the proposed meetings in detail Thursday.

The group's plans for the park's first phase do not include a pond. Both alliance members and members of the public who have spoken on the issue have indicated they don't see it as a top priority.

The city Parks and Recreation Department conducted a survey on the parks and facilities last year, and the results showed Goldsboro residents want walking trails more than a body of water.

"Since the alliance presented a green space concept to the community in 2006, we have spent some time determining the best direction to make the concept a reality. The lake feature initially garnered the majority of attention, even though it was only one of the possibilities considered for the park," Roethling has said.

The lake feature "tended to overshadow the true purpose and nature of Stoney Creek Park's development," he said, which is to create a natural outdoor environment that offers the community a number of recreational activities otherwise not available in the city.

The alliance is would also like to have a picnic shelter, amphitheater and garden area in the park, which are items that the survey also showed the community wants.

For now, the alliance is hoping to draw people to the park by including a dog park. The area will include separate spaces for both large and small dogs and also an unleashing area.

Walking paths, a children's interpretive area and space for disc golf are also planned for the first part of the park, along with restroom facilities, landscaping and fencing. The alliance is seeking to preserve the natural beauty of the low-lying area off Ash Street, which has been designated a protected area by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, so the park will have a wetland identification area where visitors can discover what a wetland ecosystem is like. The plan is to build a bridge over the low-lying areas of the park to give visitors a way to view the landscape.

The alliance will meet at its usual time Thursday to further discuss plans for the community forums.