Salisbury to hire consultant for City Park master plan

The  City Council has allocated $20,000 to hire a consultant to make a plan for City Park.

The City Council has allocated $20,000 to hire a consultant to make a plan for City Park.

Disc golf, a sport gaining popularity nationwide, could come to City Park, depending on the master plan eventually approved by City Council.

Chris Roberts, chairman of the city’s Parks Commission, an advisory board that makes recommendations to town leaders, said disc golf challenges players to throw discs at targets and has been mentioned by residents as a pastime they would enjoy.

Activities that will be finally be offered at the 95-acre City Park will be decided once a master plan is complete. A request for proposal, known as an RFP, to solicit bids for a consultant to create the plan, go out Aug. 22, according to Mike Moulds, director of public works.

In recent memory, there has not been a master plan for City Park, but City Council has allocated $20,000 to hire a consultant to make a plan.

Roberts said board members have taken surveys and learned Salisbury residents are also interested in having bike trails cleaned. Brush and fallen trees have to be cleared away for bikers to be able to ride complete trails, although the existing trails are “somewhat in use,” Roberts said.

“I want to see a plan for moving forward for usage,” Roberts said.

It must be decided if commercial endeavors will be allowed at the park, such as hot dog vendors and pony rides.

“That would change the flavor of the park and we were trying to keep a certain image. We’re interested in managed growth,” Roberts said. Possible uses will be discussed at the next parks commission meeting Aug. 21, he said.

He’d like to see adequate restrooms and a safe environment there, a place where the public can mingle, interact “and get back to nature,” Roberts said.

Enough parking is needed, as well as natural green space and renovation of horseshoe pits, he said. An Eagle Boy Scout has expressed interest in taking that project, he said.

Some horseshoe pits could be converted to corn hole areas, he said.

Moulds said there will be an assessment to determine “to what future needs will be.”

“Needs change. Different things become popular as the cross section of the population changes. Recreation changes as people get older and there are new things kids are interested in doing,” he said.

Roberts said commission members, who meet the third Thursday every month except December, have met three times with Moulds and shared suggestion.

Moulds said what could come to the park, which is older than the 60-year-old zoo it adjoins, “is an open book” at this time.

City Council President Jake Day said he likes the link City Park has to the downtown area, and wants to be sure high standards are upheld and the riverfront is cleaned.

Mayor Jim Ireton said the master plan “is for the city, park committee and park enthusiasts to codify uses we have there.”

“The master plan will finalize the uses of each part of the park for the next 10 to 20 years. It will also help us assess what needs we will have in the park that will address walking, biking, other sports and open space considerations,” the mayor said.

There are 10 seats on the parks commission, and five need to be filled, a task that has proven difficult, Roberts said.

And, now that Salisbury City Councilwoman Terry Cohen has resigned, the commission doesn’t have a City Council liaison. Roberts suggested anybody interested in serving on the commission write to Ireton.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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