12/10/13 — Public gets peek at plan for Herman Park renovation

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Public gets peek at plan for Herman Park renovation

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on December 10, 2013 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department held its first session for public input on the proposed renovations to Herman Park and its center Monday.

City voters will be asked in May to vote for an $18.9 million bond referendum to pay for improvements to the park and center, along with the construction of a new W.A. Foster Center and other recreation projects, including a multi-sports complex and the paving of greenways.

Preliminary plans for the park drawn up by Site Solutions President Derek Williams and mock-up architectural drawings brought in by Kristen Hess of HH Architecture gave residents an idea of what planners have in mid.

"There are really two ways to do this," Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said. "You can bring in a drawing of the way it is and just give people markers and let them go for it, drawing what they want, or you can do it this way. If we bring something in to show them I think it lets them visualize it better and see what they like and don't like."

The proposed changes to the center would knock off the auditorium and boxing gym to make room for a new wing, which would house a double gym, a new boxing gym closer to the amenities in the building as well as larger bathrooms and much more.

Also planned would be a second floor walking track around the gym.

Boxing program coach Steve Ashford said, in addition to the more prominent placement, he would like a place for the youths in his program to study at the boxing gym.

"Boxing only takes an hour and 30 minutes a day. A computer room would give them a place to do their homework," he said. "They could still shoot around the gym though, and that would be good."

The double gym proposal was popular with high school students walking over to the session from Goldsboro High School and Wayne School of Engineering.

"Gym, gym, gym, gym, gym," Barnard said. "They were all gym."

One issue noted was the proposed location of the kitchen, which was said by some to be too far away from the activity rooms.

Ms. Hess said that so far the center staff likes the proposed changes to the building because they expand its amenities and improve lines of sight for those working at the center.

Proposed changes to the park also centered on improved parking, renovated play areas, expanded restrooms and walking tracks to improve handicap accessibility.

Overall, about 100 new parking spaces are planned, with about half on Park Avenue and the rest behind the center.

Preliminary drawings include raised crosswalks to slow traffic and to make the area generally more pedestrian friendly.

"We would look at a pedestrian entrance from the center," park superintendent John Albert said. "We would fill in that ditch between the center and the park. Right now it's like the center and the park seem separate in people's minds when they're really the same thing. It's already partially piped so I don't know why it isn't already but we're gonna pipe is and fill it."

The next public input session is planned for mid-January.