08/17/08 — Stoney Creek Park Alliance to hold community forums this week

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Stoney Creek Park Alliance to hold community forums this week

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on August 17, 2008 9:44 AM

City residents are going to get their chance this week to ask any question they want about plans for the proposed Stoney Creek Park.

The Stoney Creek Park Alliance will host two community forums -- at 7 p.m. Tuesday at W.A. Foster Center and at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the large conference room at the City Hall Addition.

A community forum was scheduled for July, but the alliance canceled it to make sure members had the City Council's backing.

Councilmen had 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.

And some council members weren't sure Kimley-Horn was the right company for the job, while others had concerns over the proposal amount. But after some discussion, council members agreed to stick with the firm, which has been with the park project since it began about four years ago, only after it narrowed the scope of work and lowered the price to design the park to $5,000.

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

The Parks and Recreation Department conducted a survey of the city's parks and facilities last year. The results showed Goldsboro residents would prefer to see walking trails than a body of water.

Dr. Peter Roethling, who serves as Alliance chairman, has said the water feature was only a small part of the initial plan and that the idea seemed to be a lightning rod for the park's critics.

"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 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 project 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 portion of the park, along with restroom facilities, landscaping and fencing.

The alliance also is seeking to preserve the natural beauty of the wetland area off Ash Street, which has been designated a protected area by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 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.

Alliance members will be on hand to discuss the park plan at the forums and residents also will be able to view the design.