02/18/14 — Council balks at final vote

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Council balks at final vote

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on February 18, 2014 1:46 PM

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Councilmen Michael Headen, left, and William Goodman take a roll call vote on the consent agenda item Monday night. The conceptual designs for Mina Weil Park, Herman Park and Herman Park Center were pulled from the agenda for a second time.


Councilman Chuck Allen votes on the consent agenda during the City Council meeting on Monday night.

The Goldsboro City Council tabled a vote Monday night to accept the conceptual designs for Mina Weil Park, Herman Park and Herman Park Center.

Following a lengthy discussion of the plans, Goldsboro City Manager Scott Stevens suggested pushing discussion back to the City Council's retreat agenda.

The discussions following a presentation by Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard that focused on the redesign of Mina Weil Park and building a new W.A. Foster Recreation Center on that site.

The proposed redesign includes building a new W.A. Foster Recreation Center, a dedicated entrance on John Street and building three baseball fields with a centralized restroom area.

Councilman Chuck Allen said he is not sure neighbors near the park on House Street would appreciate having a lighted ball field so close by.

"I'm just not sure the people will be very supportive," Allen said. "Remember, it's a neighborhood. I know your job is to increase use. But people have been living down there for a long time and you seem to be cramming an awful lot into a neighborhood park."

Allen said he wants more input from the residents of House Street to give them another opportunity to express concerns about the plan.

"It seems to me that we are hearing more questions than answers and I think we should pull it back out," Councilman Michael Headen said.

Councilman William Goodman said that he thought he was being misled.

"It seems like someone is trying to make me a warhead," he said. "There is still a lot of confusion here and maybe some lying. We have people who live in the community who don't want W.A. Foster over there. Then we have an area without a school or a recreational center. It has nothing."

When asked to clarify what he meant by being made a "warhead," Goodman said, "I didn't believe what he was saying and I was expected to be gullible. I'll say this, I wasn't supposed to be intelligent enough to understand what was going on."

Allen said that he would first like to see a breakdown of how the re-design would be phased in and also receive more public input.

"I want to be sure we have engaged them," Allen said. "I am not against the plan, I just want to be sure."

Barnard said that during public sessions with residents from House Street the main concern was the parking lot near the street.

"The residents main concern was after hours activities going on in the parking lots by the edge of the park," Barnard said. "This plan eliminates that."

Councilman Charles Williams said that the demographic in the area around Mina Weil Park has shifted from mostly retirees to more younger families with children.

"Since things have changed quite a bit I'm not sure what their response would be," he said.

The planned retreat for the city was postponed in light of Councilmen Headen and Goodman being unavailable for at least one of the two days of the retreat.

A new date has not been set.

The retreat is a two-day extended City Council meeting where voting can take place just like a regular City Council meeting.

In other business, the Council accepted Carolina Earth Movers' bid for the Wayne Memorial Drive sidewalk project to add sidewalk between U.S. 70 and Royall Avenue.

Carolina Earth Movers, a Smithfield based company, came in with the lowest of the 10 bids received, at nearly $128,000.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will reimburse the city for $50,000 of the cost and the city will spend the remaining $60,000 in its sidewalk fund.

To avoid paying the remaining $18,000 out of fund balance the Council voted to pull the sidewalk back from U.S. 70 to save $18,000.

Carolina Earth Movers has agreed to the change and the job will cost $110,000.

The city Engineering Department suggested running the sidewalk from where it stops on Wayne Memorial Drive until Sixth Street but Council members agreed Royall Avenue has more traffic.

The sidewalk is expected to reach between Fourth and Sixth streets.