01/23/13 — Council talks about park plans

View Archive

Council talks about park plans

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on January 23, 2013 1:46 PM

The long-running discussion concerning placement of new amenities at Stoney Creek Park might be coming to an end, but not without drastic changes to the proposed layout.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard shared maps with Goldsboro City Council members Tuesday night showing construction of bathrooms at the park on the southeast corner of the intersection of North Randolph and East Mulberry streets.

That location, which has been discussed for almost two years, was not moved from its suggested spot, where it can be easily and inexpensively connected to city water and sewer lines.

What was changed from the layout presented during the City Council's Dec. 17 meeting was the position and number of picnic shelters that were purchased, initially, with grant money the city received in May 2011.

The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund awarded the city $132,750 for investments into the park, bringing in restrooms, picnic shelters and a beach volleyball court.

The restrooms, which were determined to be the park's first priority, and shelters have been in the city's warehouse since December, awaiting the council's direction on where to construct the prefabricated facilities.

Opinions and suggestions from the former Stoney Creek Park Alliance, which dissolved more than a year ago, factored heavily into the city's decision on where to propose placing the bathrooms, although members, many of whom live near the park, were concerned about vagrants and noise near their homes.

That led to several changes in layout throughout summer 2011, when Sherry Archibald was serving as interim director of the parks department. Mrs. Archibald told the Alliance then that moving the bathroom where its members wanted it -- yards away from where it was proposed -- would run up the bill, as sewer and water connections would need to be installed.

But then-City Councilman Bob Waller, a long-time member of the Alliance, said the extra cost would be worth it if it meant a perfect location of the bathrooms.

Waller had been pushing since the grant was discussed to have the bathroom near the parking lot off of Ash Street across from Bicycle World, but was reminded numerous times that a building like that would not be permissible because that location is within the floodplain.

That location is now where one of the picnic shelters will be constructed. The shelter is allowed to be built because it would have no doors, a stipulation for construction on a floodplain.

But the second shelter, which was ordered under the presumption that it would be paid for with grant money, will not be placed at Stoney Creek Park.

That shelter will likely end up at Berkeley Park, Barnard said, and the city will need to pay for it with local money. The shelters cost between $30,000 and $35,000 each, he said.

The move frees up money within the grant to be used for other projects within the park, Barnard said, which may include greenways that the public has asked for, and there's a chance that future shelters could be placed where these two were originally proposed.

That proposal was changed at the behest of District 5 Councilman Chuck Allen, who was concerned about accessibility to the shelters for families if they were placed near Randolph Street, where the bathroom is.

The move allows for greater accessibility to the shelter -- it's right next to the parking lot, now -- but now it is about 400 feet from the bathroom along a meandering path during a time when Barnard has said the parks system needs to prioritize accessibility.