12/10/08 — Stoney Creek Park Alliance looking for private funds after council reject

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Stoney Creek Park Alliance looking for private funds after council reject

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 10, 2008 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee approved a plan for Stoney Creek Park Tuesday -- a day after the City Council decided it would not seek grant money to help with the project.

A public forum was held on the plan Tuesday night. Beforehand, the commission approved plans for development of the woodland off Ash Street and discussed ways for the project to continue to advance despite the council's decision.

Commission members thanked members of the Stoney Creek Park Alliance for their efforts to date and said the work would go on.

"Thank you, and don't give up just because the city doesn't have any money," Mike Farfour said. "But can we get a couple of volleyball courts out there ... And I think you need some more lights out there."

Alliance Chairman Dr. Peter Roethling said the alliance would investigate the possibilities and see how much they would cost.

The council announced Monday that it did not have the money to finance both the building of a recreation center and the park and that the city would seek grant money for the former, but not the latter. The grant being sought is a $500,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant.

Council members also noted that a tax hike might be necessary to help pay for completion of the recreation center. Its cost is estimated at more than $12 million.

Council member said private donations would likely be needed for the park to become a reality. Roethling told council members Monday that if private sources could come up with enough money, the city might only have to chip in $100,000, about half of what the park might cost, depending on what is included.

"Without PARTF (Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant), we really need to organize what we do have the resources to do. We are trying to bring these elements together in a way to get the community involved," Dr. Roethling said.

The council plans to use all of the money from the grant -- if the city can obtain it -- for the recreation center.

Only a handful of people attended the meeting.

Otto Keesling said that he doesn't believe Goldsboro can afford another park.

"I'd be all for it if it didn't cost the city money," he said, addressing Roethling.

Dr. Roethling said that for the city to grow and improve the quality of life of its residents would require investment.

"If you don't invest money to improve the city, you won't have people come here," he said. "As much as the community can do (to improve the park and not cost the city money), that's what we're looking at."

Victoria Jordan said a disc golf course could bring tourists to the city but Dr. Roethling said the park does not have enough land to build a full-scale course. He said a smaller course could be built, to determine the amount of interest.

"If the community gets involved with the disc golf, then we can expand later if we get some more land," he said.

Ms. Jordan also expressed concern over proposed park hours, which she said were specified on a trails grant application as being from sunrise until 11 p.m.

"Other parks open at dawn and close at dusk for public safety," she said.

City officials said that those are the hours for all of the city parks, but Dr. Roethling and other members of the alliance said they would look into changing the hours for Stoney Creek.