03/05/14 — Council puts parks plans on hold until after retreat

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Council puts parks plans on hold until after retreat

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on March 5, 2014 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro Parks and Recreation director said he is waiting for more direction following the Goldsboro City Council's decision to remove the preliminary site plans for city parks from its consent agenda at its Feb. 17 meeting.

"I am hoping that will be cleared up at the retreat," Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said. "I expect I will get some more information from the Council as we go forward. When we bump elbows in the hall it's not uncommon to get a little bit more direction from them."

The plans are a result of months-long planning processes including public input from the community and specific organizations with a vested interest in the area.

The preliminary plan for Mina Weil Park includes the new W.A. Foster Recreation Center, updated baseball fields and a dedicated entrance from John Street that eliminates parking on the fringe of the park.

Plans for Herman Park and Herman Park Center include a gym, updated spaces for activities and improved parking and entrances to the park.

In the plan the ditch separating the center and park will be piped and filled in and improved sidewalks will be installed to make the park more handicap accessible.

Barnard said that he still believes in the plan and does not think that there will be problems passing the plan in the coming weeks.

"I feel confident. We weren't at an impasse," Barnard said. "I think they see the value in the process."

During the meeting, questions were raised about the amount of public input from House Street residents in relation to the plan for Mina Weil Park.

"I'm just not sure the people will be very supportive," City Councilman Chuck 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.

Allen's main concern was the plan to place a baseball field facing House Street near the edge of the park.

In addition to more input from area residents Allen wants to see a breakdown of how the different projects will be phased in.

"We'll probably get W.A. Foster and the dedicated entrance from John Street for what is in the bond," Barnard said.

He said that most area resident's concerns were getting rid of the parking lots on the outskirts of the park.

Plans for Mina Weil Park, Herman Park and Herman Park Center were pushed back from the Feb. 4 meeting as well to allow the City Council to review the plans in detail.

Once it was clear no resolution would be reached during the City Council work session City Manager Scott Stevens suggested pushing the discussion back to the City Council retreat which was scheduled for last week.

The retreat was then canceled during the City Council's regular meeting following the work session due to scheduling conflicts with Councilmen William Goodman and Michael Headen.

A new date for the retreat has not been set.