05/15/13 — Community gives input on plans for W.A. Foster

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Community gives input on plans for W.A. Foster

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on May 15, 2013 1:46 PM

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Architect Kristen Hess of HH Architecture listens as city resident John Forbes makes suggestions about plans for the remodeling and adding of facilities to Mina Weil Park during a public meeting at the W.A. Foster Center on Tuesday. A new Foster center is expected to be built at Mina Weil.

The Goldsboro Park and Recreation Department held two public input sessions Tuesday at the W.A. Foster Recreation Center to collect ideas for what the Mina Weil Park master plan should include.

Mina Weil Park is the chosen site for the new Foster Center. The existing center has to be replaced due the presence of asbestos although some activities are still going on there.

Site Solutions representative Dereck Williams is the designer of the Mina Weil park renovation.

Williams is working with the architect for the new W.A. Foster, Kristen Hess of HH Architecture, to build an information base for what people want to see done in the new recreation center as well as in the rest of the park.

Williams set up a mockup of proposed changes to Mina Weil Park including the location of the new W.A. Foster and the addition of a third baseball field with updated dugouts. People who stopped by gave their opinions on what the new facility should contain and look like.

"We got a lot of good, useful information today," Ms. Hess said.

Other proposed improvements included renovating Mina Weil Pool and adding a picnic shelter and playground by the restrooms as well as a central road to the park allowing parking much closer to the park's amenities than the perimeter parking lots currently permit.

Members of the public suggested everything from improved fitness gear and a double gym to a miniature golf course and batting cages.

One idea planned for the site that seemed popular with many of the women present was the addition of intersecting walking loops of different distances around the park.

Gladys McClary wanted an indoor walking path as well for days when the weather is bad. Another woman said she wanted the walking path to run by the playground to keep an eye on her children.

The public favored the idea of a central location for the playground right by the bathrooms and picnic shelters, saying that they wanted to be able to take their kids to the restroom from the playground easily.

"With this you can (take your child to the restroom) without crossing any roads," Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said. "It just makes sense."

Barnard said he believes that Parks and Recreation heard from a good cross section of people by holding the sessions at 2 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. at the W.A. Foster Center.

Many of the suggestions had already been considered by staff.

"It was like an affirmation to us that we are fitting the community needs," staffer Felicia Brown said.

One suggestion that had not been considered for the center, she said, was a sauna.

One area of consensus between the public and Parks and Recreation was the need for bike racks and motorcycle parking right in full view of the front of the office.

"The sad reality is that they are easy to take and people will take things that are easy to steal," Barnard said.

Clients are continuing to use the W.A. Foster Center until a new one is built. While the asbestos is sealed off, nothing more than simple upkeep can be done on the existing building, Barnard said.