01/04/09 — Parks and rec plan tops City Council agenda

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Parks and rec plan tops City Council agenda

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on January 4, 2009 2:00 AM

Goldsboro City Council members will hear the final outlook on the status of the city's parks and recreation facilities Monday night when the final draft of the comprehensive master plan will be up for approval.

The plan includes a priority list of the parks that need the most improvement.

Plan writer Judy Hills put W. A. Foster Center at the top of the list with Herman Park coming in second.

Mina Weil, H.V. Brown and Peacock parks also are in the top five in need of repairs, while Berkeley, North End, Fairview, South End, Mitchell and Quail parks round out the list.

Ms. Hills also suggested in the final report that city officials should incorporate health and wellness into the recreation and leisure opportunities, create a unique playground area for children ages 1 to 12, create an outdoor skateboard park, create a nature trail, construct a splash park as one feature in a state-of-the-art playground park and designate one or more bird watching areas.

Her other recommendations include:

*Make sure all large picnic shelters should have water, electric and a large grill.

*Add American with Disabilities Act compliant water fountains to each park and several to the larger parks.

*Add bicycle racks to each of the parks and several racks to Herman Park using racks that support the frame of the bike, not the wheel.

*Add security lighting throughout the parks.

*Include interpretative signage whenever feasible.

*Designate walking trails within the historic district, provide maps with distances marked and create a brochure of the trails.

*Create a paddling guide of the local waters for kayakers and canoers.

*Repair all picnic tables that have been damaged and remove graffiti.

*Add universal signs to each park regarding amenities at that park.

*Add directional signs on major roads to help the public locate the parks and facilities.

*Consider the availability and state of restrooms at each park. All restrooms should be ADA compliant and should be open during times when the park is open for public use.

*Have two staff members be certified playground inspectors and inspect playgrounds several times a week during the off-season and daily during the season to make sure sand depth is properly maintained.

*Involve the residents in creating and maintaining interesting planting areas in the parks.

*Include youth in maintaining the park to increase ownership and decrease vandalism.

*Encourage the police department to use community policing techniques and actively assist in making frequent observations at parks and in enforcing rules.

*Improve the look and functionality of downtown area by fixing sidewalks, adding historic style lighting fixtures, placing utilities underground and adding attractive benches, signs and decorative trash cans.

Ms. Hills also recommended that the Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission have a long-term capital improvements plan, separating and prioritizing needs.

She presented a draft of the comprehensive master plan to city Parks and Recreation officials in late September with more recommendations, but with some money and in-house work, the department was able to do minor cleanup and repairs on several parks and facilities.

In October, an estimate to fix the parks and facilities topped more than $275,000.

W.A. Foster Center's repairs were estimated at $52,500.

Herman Park repairs were estimated to cost $34,075 and Herman Park Center repairs were estimated at $32,800.

To bring the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course up to par, repairs were estimated at $15,000.

Costs for repairs at other parks included:

*$12,820 for H.V. Brown

*$34,140 to $89,040 for Mina Weil (depending on the choice to completely renovate and repave the tennis and basketball courts at a cost of $75,000 or to resurface the areas for $20,000)

*$32,210 for Berkeley

*$8,345 for North End

*$6,520 for Fairview

*$1,030 for Peacock

*$3,780 for Quail

*$1,515 for Henry C. Mitchell

* $450 for South End

The Parks and Recreation Department also requested a tractor-mounted leaf blower costing $3,200, a leaf raking and vacuuming machine costing $24,000, and a sand rake machine for $13,000 to help them with the above-mentioned repairs and ongoing grounds maintenance.

Also at the council meeting Monday, members will discuss the selection of a consultant for the update of long-range transportation needs, a rezoning for property on the north side of U.S. 70 service road between North William Street and Norwood Avenue from office and institutional to general business, a conditional use permit for a tattoo parlor on the northwest corner of East Ash and Durant streets and several budget items.

The council's work session will begin at 5 p.m. in the large conference room at the City Hall Addition. The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.