05/18/11 — Opening Park Avenue still on council's agenda

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Opening Park Avenue still on council's agenda

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on May 18, 2011 1:46 PM

When Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission Chairman Jerry Phillips presented his group's recommendations to the City Council on how to open up the portion of Park Avenue that runs through Herman Park while keeping park visitors safe, he noted that many of them had been discussed already.

Goldsboro resident Roy Parker Jr.'s suggestion involving crosswalks and fences to funnel pedestrians toward appropriate crossing points was brought up when District 6 Councilman Jackie Warrick presented it at the public hearing concerning the closing. The idea also was discussed extensively during the commission's last meeting.

At Monday's work session, Phillips presented another option, which was offered by commission member Dexter Yelverton. Yelverton suggested making the street one-way, a concept that was universally embraced as an option for consideration by members of the advisory commission.

But his was not the only new idea Monday.

District 2 Councilman Bob Waller presented a drawing that showed closing the portion of the road from the roundabout to the tennis parking lot entrance and creating a green zone there. The Jackson Street entrance would then provide for two-way traffic as cars entered and exited the roundabout, allowing for decreased traffic while still maintaining accessibility for park visitors.

Phillips said that the decision as to what option would be best was completely up to council.

"It's an easy one from our point of view. Whatever we can do to satisfy the most people. I don't have a preference," he said.

He did note that he is anxious to get the Park Avenue situation straightened out, joking that it had strained relations with some of his neighbors. He said he would informally survey residents to see if Waller's proposal would work and bring back a final recommendation at a future council meeting.

"It's the most heavily used park we have, so hopefully we'll reach a happy medium somehow," he said.

The council did not, however, find that happy medium when discussion turned to the other Parks and Recreation related item on the agenda: Hole No. 14 of the municipal golf course.

District 5 Councilman Chuck Allen took issue with the department using $7,500 in its budget to repair a ditch on the course that had produced a hindrance for golfers since the course was not returning a profit.

"You need to look at how you can save money or make more," he told interim Parks and Recreation director Sherry Archibald.

Later, Mrs. Archibald explained that one reason why the course's expenses were so high was the type of grass it used. She said the course's crenshaw bent grass requires a lot of care and that if Bermuda grass was installed instead, it could save money in the long run, although the changeover would be costly.

Interim City Manager Tasha Logan said the Hole 14 proposal wasn't something that began internally, but was a concern raised by golfers.

Allen proposed waiting until the 2011-12 budget was approved, saying that "money is money" whether it's from this year's budget or next year's.

"It's only a month away," he said, referencing the city's plan to approve a budget June 20. "This might not be a priority after the budget."

The council also discussed the possible closing of South End Park on South Slocumb Street and Henry C. Mitchell Park in the Little Washington residential area.

Parks and Recreation has an agreement with the Goldsboro Housing Authority to maintain South End. Council suggested the park either be given to the city, the Housing Authority begins paying for the maintenance and care or that the Housing Authority take over the maintenance of it entirely.

Council also suggested closing Henry C. Mitchell Park and giving it to the residential association in the area.

The council will hold another budget workshop next week after the county revaluation numbers have been processed and hopes to approve a final budget by the end of June.