10/02/08 — Plans out for work on parks, facilities

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Plans out for work on parks, facilities

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 2, 2008 2:07 PM

After taking the summer off, the Goldsboro Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission reconvened Tuesday to begin one its biggest projects to date -- prioritizing the list of repairs for the city's 14 recreation areas.

But with only two of the commission's 12 members attending the meeting -- along with three city employees -- the discussion focused mainly on the challenges that are ahead.

"You've got fiscal constraints, but from a reality point of view, we know we need to do this. But we've got to consider cost," commission member William McRoy said. "Something you might put at a high priority based on the usage and such might cost more."

There was no price tag attached to the plan the members reviewed Tuesday, but it is expected to be significantly more than the $275,000 originally discussed after Eastern Carolina Council representative Judy Hills' first tour of the city's parks and recreation facilities.

Henry C. Mitchell, one acre in the Little Washington area.
• Sell the land, which abuts an active rail line, and put the money toward other improvements.
• If it’s not sold, convert it into a passive pocket park with benches and picnic tables,but no playground equipment. Put up signs identifying it as a city-owned park and signs stating the park rules.

South End Park, four acres on South Slocumb Street.
• Work out an agreement with the owner of the adjacent housing project to give it to them for use as a park in perpetuity, provided they maintain it.
• If it’s retained, add signs explaining the park rules and that it’s city-owned. Install additional landscap
If the city retains the park, though,the plan recommends that it add signage explaining the park’s rules and that it is city-owned. It also receommends:
• Adding landscaping to provide shade
• Adding benches
•Repairing, resurfacing and repainting the basketball court
• Adding a walking path
• Putting up soccer goals
• Adding parking and additional entrances

Quail Park, nine acres in the Jefferson Park neighborhood.
• Convert unused ball field into a soccer field with goals
• Remove basketball goals
• Removing unnecessary fencing
• Upgrade playgound equipment
• Upgrade picnic shelter

North End Park, nine acres on Neil Street in the northern part of the city.
• Add perimeter fencing
• Convert unused ball field to a multi-use field for football and soccer
• Refurbish restrooms
• Repair or replace wood on picnic shelter
• Add water fountain by basketball court
• Transform old decorative fountain into a planting area
• Update the playground equipment
• Improve existing basketball court and add benches
• Add another basketball court
• Resurface or refurbish tennis courts
• Move picnic table in front of bathrooms off the walkway.

Peacock Park, 14 acres on Herring Street in the northern part of the city.
• Refurbish pool area including the pool, pool house, pool deck and fencing.
• Convert the ball field to a multi-purpose field for soccer and football
• Add umbrellas, a tent or shade feature to the pool area for customers and lifeguards
• Add a wooden fence around the pool
• Add trash cans and picnic tables
• Clean up playground area
• Add a small picnic shelter near the playground

H.V. Brown Park, 14 acres at the intersection of Elm Street and U.S. 117 Bypass.
• Convert it to a specialty or destination park for handicapped adults and children.
• Restore the decorative fountain by returning it to a spray area for children.
• Resurface the basketball court
• Repair shelters, fixing broken cement in shelters and walkways and replacing end caps on picnic tables
• Convert open space to a soccer field, dog park or skate park
• Repair restrooms
• Repair water fountain
• Add shade

Fairview Park, 17.43-acres on Edgerton Street.
• Add soccer fields
• Renovate restrooms
• Add signage
• Improve ball fields
• Repair playground equipment
• Add walking trail

Mina Weil Park, 20.77 acres at the intersection of South John Street and House Street.
• Renovate the pool, pool house and pool deck
• Replace the fence around the pool
• Add outdoor furniture to the pool area
• Remove or relocate tennis and basketball courts
• Renovate ball fields
• Build a restroom facility near ball fields
• Replace cement dugouts with fencing
• Add cushioned top rail to outfield fence
• Fix or remove water fountains
• Update signage
• Construct walkways throughout the park
• Add more vehicle lanes through park for ease of access to picnic shelters
• Add parking to picnic shelters
• Add more lighting
• Add more picnic tables and picnic shelters
• Add more electric outlets throughout the park
• Hold festivals in the park
• Add more playground equipment and replace sand
• Add a bike trail
• Add a handicapped accessible playground
• Add a beach volleyball court
• Add a soccer area.

Herman Park, 24 acres on Ash Street, the city’s oldest and most popular park.
• Refurbish the restrooms
• Repair and repaint the park house
• Repair and repaint the gazebo
• Add more tennis courts. Consider making two new courts with clay surfaces.
• Update and make cosmetic improvements
• Replace trash cans
• Prune tree limbs
• Revitalize landscaping. Dirt areas need grass.
• Add a walking trail
• Consider as a possible skateboard ramp location
• Refurbish tennis practice wall
• Add a central protected bulletin board for park events to be posted
• Add a small picnic shelter and picnic tables near the train
• Add rules of use signs to tennis courts.

Berkeley Memorial Park, 31 acres off of Cashwell Drive.
• Add a dog park
• Add a BMX bike trail area
• Add a walking trail
• Add an amphitheater
• Add beach volleyball courts
• Add a skateboard park
• Add a soccer field
• Add a bike park
• Add horseshoe boxes
• Add a small playground.
• Add pet waste stations
• Add more picnic shelters
• Fix ball field fences
• Refurbish restrooms
• Resurface basketball court
• Renovate picnic shelters
• Replace faucets with automatic ones
• Add more grills at the picnic shelters.

Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course
• Screen the maintenance shop from the clubhouse
• Repair the leaks that are causing the lower level to flood and refurbish it
• Renovate the clubhouse.

Herman Park Center
• Have a professional assessment of the building done and plan to either do a major renovation or to replace the facility in the coming years
• Make the necessary repairs to the facility at this time
• Brighten the rooms with colorful accents

W.A. Foster Center
• Have a professional assessment of the building done and a plan made to either do a major renovation or to replace the facility in the coming years
• Make necessary repairs

As she did then, Ms. Hills reiterated in the plan that the city's facilities appear to be "suffering from a long period of deferred maintenance and old age."

She also said in the plan that repairs should be done as time and funding allow, but that adequate funding for the Parks and Recreation Department is "imperative" so that all parks can be "brought up to standard as soon as possible."

But she, too, did not prioritize the needed fixes.

That will be the job of the commission, provided, said Parks and Recreation Director Sonya Shaw, that more members attend the next meeting so they can begin to get to work. Her goal is to have the master plan finalized by November.

In the plan, Ms. Hills made several recommendations for the city's parks and recreation system overall. Those are:

*To bring Herman Park up to standard as soon as possible because it is the most used of the facilities according to staff.

*Create a "boundless playground" at H.V. Brown Park to serve all ages and the disabled.

*Bring all the city's pool facilities, including houses, restrooms, decks, fences and pools themselves up to standard by summer 2009.

*Replace or majorly renovate the W.A. Foster Center and Herman Park Center within 10 years.

*Review specific park recommendations and bring those features up to standard.

*Review the survey results and incorporate those public desires into parks that are being renovated.

*Replace or repair the water fountains in every park, ensuring that at least one in each is handicapped accessible.

*Install one or more bike racks at every park and recreation center.

*Provide a good first impression to each park by improving and making uniform all entrance signage.

*Keep restrooms open during park hours -- currently they're closed except for when a group has scheduled the use of a field or shelter -- and that they have working soap dispensers, hand dryers and stall doors.

*Ensure that every picnic shelter has grills of adequate size and number.

*Improve lighting to help deter vandalism and graffiti.

*Add one or more pet waste station to every park because most people will pick up after their pets if the tools are provided.

*Add a recycling bin beside every trash can. Replace existing thin metal trash cans with a sturdier can. Paint old brown trash cans. These faded and dented cans make a poor impression.

*Place a kiosk at each of the larger shelters to post use notices, reservations and assistance numbers.

*Whenever feasible, collaborate with the school system, corporations, businesses and non-profit groups.

Ms. Hills then divided the city's parks into several different categories -- mini parks, neighborhood parks and community parks -- based on their size and features, giving more specific recommendations for each.

Mini parks, which in Goldsboro includes only Henry C. Mitchell Park, are less than four acres of land and are generally designed for young children or for aesthetic purposes. Mini-parks have a service radius of up to a half mile.

Neighborhood parks -- South End, Quail and North End parks -- are between 4 and 12 acres and are designed for children ages 6 to 15 and adults. They typically include family picnic areas, open turf areas for informal sports and play equipment. They have a service area of up to 0.75 mile.

Community parks -- Peacock, H.V. Brown, Fairview, Mina Weil, Herman, Stoney Creek and Berkeley Memorial parks -- are between 13 and 50 acres and are designed for all ages in both active and passive recreation. They normally include formal athletic fields with lights, open turf areas, playgrounds, picnic areas, off-street parking and restrooms. Components of mini-parks and neighborhood parks should be included in community parks. Community parks have a service area of up to two miles.

For the city's smallest park, the one-acre Henry C. Mitchell Park, located in the Little Washington area and abutting an active rail line, the plan's recommendation is to sell the land and to put the money toward other park improvements.

If the city keeps the park, Ms. Hills is recommending that it be converted into a passive pocket park -- meaning that there are benches and a picnic table but no playground equipment -- with signs identifying it as a city-owned park and signs stating park rules.

She also recommended divesting itself of South End Park, a four-acre park on South Slocumb Street. There, she suggested the city work out an agreement with the owner of the adjacent housing project to give it to him for use of a park in perpetuity, provided he agrees to maintain it.

If the city retains the park, however, the plan recommends that it add signage explaining the park's rules and that it is city-owned, as well as additional landscaping, benches, parking and improvements to basketball court and soccer fields.

Quail Park, a nine-acre park in the Jefferson Park neighborhood, needs only a few minor adjustments, Ms. Hills stated in the plan, including the removal of basketball goals, creation of a soccer field and the improvement of playground and shelter equipment.

For North End Park, a 9-acre park on Neil Street in the northern part of the city, among Ms. Hills recommendations were the conversion of an unused ball field to a multi-use field for soccer and football, updated playground equipment, another basketball court and improved tennis courts.

At Peacock Park, a 14-acre park located on Herring Street in the northern part of the city, the recommendations include pool improvements, as well as a multi-use field and a new picnic shelter.

H.V. Brown Park, a 14-acre park, located at the intersection of Elm Street and U.S. 117 Bypass, she said, should be converted to a specialty or destination park, designed specifically for handicapped adults and children. She also suggested it include a spray area for children, either a skate park, dog park or soccer field, more parking and improved basketball and tennis courts.

As for Fairview Park, a 17.43-acre park on Edgerton Street, Ms. Hills would like to see the addition of soccer fields, improvement of the ball fields, repairs to playground equipment and the addition of a walking trail around perimeter of the park.

Mina Weil Park, a 20.77-acre park at the intersection of South John Street and House Street, had the longest list of recommendations. Included in it are, pool renovations, relocation of tennis and basketball courts, ballfield improvements, more parking, a bike trail, a soccer field and a beach volleyball court.

There also was a long list of recommendations for Berkeley Memorial Park off of Cashwell Drive. With more than 31 acres, it is the city's largest, and, the plan suggests, has the space to provide a lot of amenities. Among the recommendations are the addition of a dog park, BMX bike trail, beach volleyball courts, skate park and amphitheater.

Herman Park, a 24-acre park that is the city's oldest and most popular, is considered the city's "flagship park," Ms. Hills said in the plan, and "needs to reflect that image." Her recommendations included adding tennis courts and renovating the park house and gazebo.

She also made a few recommendations for the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course, the Herman Park Center and the W.A. Foster Center.

For a complete list of her recommendations, see the box alongside this story.