08/21/08 — Attendance very low at second Stoney Creek Park public forum

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Attendance very low at second Stoney Creek Park public forum

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on August 21, 2008 1:37 PM

Stoney Creek Park Alliance members expected more attendance at Wednesday night's community forum than at Tuesday's, where only a dozen people came to voice their concerns about plans for Stoney Creek Park.

But the second forum -- held at City Hall Addition -- was even more poorly attended than the first, with only four people other than alliance members and city officials in attendance.

And the bulk of the comments came from two people.

Victoria Jordan made an encore appearance, but didn't have as much to say as she did the night before.

She said she just wanted to make sure that she was clear that the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant needed matching funds from the city.

Parks and Recreation director Sonya Shaw said the city needs to match the amount of funding the grant provides, but it does not need to do so until the grant is awarded, which will likely be next May.

The PARTF grant can provide up to $500,000 for startup costs if awarded.

Shelley Leder had a few more comments to make than Ms. Jordan.

Her focus for the park is to make it a livelier place, she said.

"If I was going to develop something, I believe I would take the Parks and Recreation Department and I would have had some activities like tai chi out there," she said. "I think the department needs to make a concerted effort. They've had every opportunity to have lots of things. Why have they not been in this park?"

It is a place, she said, that should be used more than it is.

"When I was a kid, if we had an empty space like that, we'd be on it like maggots," she said. "If my children saw somebody swinging in a tree or doing something fun at the park, I wouldn't make it to Food Lion. They'd say, 'Just drop us off.'"

But she did have some other concerns about the park in general, including safety.

"I took my children to that park years ago, but if I had to take them there now, I wouldn't feel safe," she said.

And, there really aren't a lot of children that live around the park any more, she said.

But flooding of the park is an issue she believes to be as important as the rest.

"The water (in the park) is a problem. You're going to have to control the water if you're putting any money into (the park)," she said.

Overall, she said that she just wanted to see Stoney Creek Park become more than just a piece of property.

"I want to see that land used," she said.

Prior to the public comment period, Alliance chairman Dr. Peter Roethling gave the same presentation he did at Tuesday's forum, showing the alliance's vision for the park and its first phase of development.

Residents have to decide what level of quality they want in their city, he said. Stoney Creek Park, Roethling said, is centrally located and has beautiful natural surroundings, but some people can't get past the stigma that it is all prone to flooding.

"They've seen water and wetlands, and they aren't able to get around that," he said. "The park floods very infrequently, and we don't plan to put anything in the flood plain."