At a Monday night parks committee meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Rich Buss presented three plans for the park located near Delk Road, with costs ranging between $1.2 million and $2.2 million. The city bought the 13-acre property in February 2010 for $2.7 million, paid for out of the 2009 parks bond. The city later demolished the Preston Chase apartment complex, which sat on the land, at a cost of $410,643.
“Concept option 1 is closer to $1.2 million. What that would allow us to do is build out some park amenities,” Buss said. “We could have a walking track, a soccer field, a playground, a restroom building, picnic shelter. That uses up about 7.1 acres of the site.”
For $1.6 million, the city can install two larger soccer fields and more parking spaces.
“The other option would be a further buildout at $2.2 million,” Buss said. “We have an activity area that could be whatever elements we decide to put there. It could be a hockey rink, skateboarding, basketball courts or volleyball. There are a lot of amenities that could fill that space.”
Councilman Philip Goldstein said the city could raise money to pay for developing the park by selling a portion of the land because none of three options requires the full 13 acres.
“Obviously there is not sufficient money to do a full park,” he said. “I would hope the parks and recreation committee would consider putting 3.5 acres up for sale so the money can be used for the park. … That would provide funding. I don’t think anyone has a problem with 3.5 acres.”
However, Mayor Steve Tumlin did.
“You made one wrong assumption: Everyone is not for this. We passed a $25 million bond issue, voted 51 percent to 49. That means 49 percent didn’t support it,” Tumlin said. “Then we’re going to go back and sell park land? I think you’d have trouble ever passing a park bond again.”
Tumlin said he wanted to keep the 13 acres together as one parcel because of uncertainty of what a future property buyer may use the land for.
“We’re not in the real estate business,” he said. “We got $25 million for parks. That was an uphill battle. We bought this for a park, we ought to keep it.”
Goldstein said he was unaware there was not a consensus for the idea and apologized.
Councilman Johnny Sinclair, who chairs the committee, set a special called meeting to discuss this and other park projects for Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Council chambers.
On the agenda will be plans for a 12,000-square-foot indoor recreation center.
Buss distributed figures for proposals for both Porter and Custer Park. Cost estimates are $10.5 million for a new building at Porter, $7.8 million for renovating an existing building at Custer and $9.8 million for a new building at Custer.