01/18/09 — With latest plans, walking trail nears reality for Stoney Creek Park

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With latest plans, walking trail nears reality for Stoney Creek Park

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on January 18, 2009 2:00 AM

Stoney Creek Park will soon have a paved walking trail.

The Stoney Creek Park Alliance met Thursday to discuss the cost of a 1,800-foot trail that will circle from the parking lot on Ash Street around the wetland area, run parallel to the Ash Street sidewalk, and then straight out toward the back of the park, ending at Walnut Street.

Explaining the costs of that project, as well as for other amenities, were city engineer Marty Anderson and planning director Randy Guthrie.

And, they said, for 5-foot wide concrete walkways, the cost for materials for the first phase of trails would be $21,000.

Fortunately, Guthrie explained, the city's public works employees have the equipment to lay the concrete so there is no need to contract the work out.

Alliance members said they picked that particular section of trail to construct first because it was the easiest and had the least amount of square footage to get from the parking lot to the dog park -- an amenity that they hope will be well utilized once it is constructed.

"For now, we want to give people a place to run and walk," Alliance Chairman Dr. Peter Roethling said. "We want to get people out there using the park."

Plus, the group has to spend the more than $43,000 in grant money received from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources for trails by the beginning of September.

If city employees can use in-kind services to help with the project, another loop of trail could be built with the excess money available from the grant.

The secondary trail loop would connect with the first phase at two spots -- once at the wetlands area and once toward the back of the park by Walnut Street, giving residents more square footage to walk or run on.

But there may be a problem with the current plan -- it is different from what was described in the grant application.

The grant application originally stated that the alliance would use the money to build one mile of trail and two bridges.

Since then, the alliance has changed its plans in order to be more prudent with its finances. Two bridges -- or raised walkways -- over the wetland area and the trail to connect them with the other areas of the park would cost more than $50,000 for a 5-foot wide trail and more than $86,000 for a 10-foot wide trail.

So, in order to use the grant money for the current plan, the alliance must submit a letter to the state department, seeking approval of the changes made.

Writing the letter doesn't push the deadline for spending the grant money back. In fact, it gives the group less time to work with since it can't proceed without DENR's approval.

City officials plan to submit the letter within the next week and hope for approval as quickly as possible.

Anderson also estimated costs for other amenities in the park.

Both dog parks, he said, would cost about $115,945, including $30,000 for fencing, $30,000 for a dog run, $10,000 for electrical service and lighting and $4,400 for two drinking fountains -- one for dogs and one for humans.

The donor area, a monument dedicated to those who helped establish the park, would cost an estimated $7,000.

Adding another parking lot and improving the current one could cost between $101,616 to $225,261, Anderson said, depending on what material the alliance wanted to use in each.

Miscellaneous items in the park, including erosion control, signage, fencing, a bathroom facility, benches, lighting and landscaping, are estimated to cost between $188,890 and $203,105.

Anderson added that a survey of the park is currently under way and should be completed within a week. Once the survey is done, he can begin preparing a working design of the park, he said.

The alliance will hold off on moving forward with other amenities until it raises money from the community or uses in-kind services from the city.

Still, Roethling said he expects 2009 to be a great year for the park and hopes that the community will help to make the alliance's vision a reality.

"The Paramount Theatre was a big addition to the city last year," he said. "I think Stoney Creek Park is going to be the big addition this year."