Published: Jan 01, 2013 06:00 PM
Modified: Jan 01, 2013 05:48 PM
MORRISVILLE - Some residents here are pushing the town to build Northwest Park, which has been on hold since 2007.
Morrisville has the land for the five-acre park off of Parkside Valley Drive, and the town has collected about $1.3 million in fees from Breckenridge developers to build a park in the area.
But there is still no park, and residents want to know why.
About 700 people from Breckenridge subdivisions have signed a petition asking the Morrisville Town Council to move forward with park plans, which include a playground, picnic shelter, open field, restrooms and parking space.
Residents who live on the northwestern side of town don’t have a park within walking distance. Breckenridge, the site of the future park, has about 1,140 homes and 4,000 people, said Satish Garimell, president of the Breckenridge Homeowners Association.
Factor in other nearby subdivisions, Garimell said, and that stretch of Morrisville represents about 23 percent of the town’s total population of roughly 20,000.
“The entire population of kids is increasing, and we have no open places,” Garimell said. “This park has been long overdue. It’s something that was paid for and promised.”
Youth volunteers knocked on doors to get signatures for the petition, and about 60 to 70 people showed up at the Morrisville Town Council’s Nov. 27 meeting.
Town staff is expected to present a report about the park at the council’s Jan. 7 meeting.
Building the park is harder than it seems, said Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Allen.
Morrisville has the land and some money in place, he said, but a road project could hamper park construction.
According to town policy, Morrisville must make needed road upgrades near the park. The town would have to pave a section of the state-owned Louis Stephens Road, a project that could be pricey, Allen said.
The total cost of the project is unclear, but early estimates show it could cost up to $1.7 million to build the road and the park.
“Costs associated with the roads will cost more than building the park,” Allen said.
Northwest Park has been on the town’s unfunded-projects list for years and is scheduled for construction in 2017.
While Morrisville collected money from developers who chose to pay instead of leaving extra green space, Allen said those funds were distributed to other park projects that benefit the town as a whole, such as Morrisville Community Park and town greenways.
Morrisville has $810,000 in its account for parks. About $400,000 of that is available for current projects. Councilman optimistic
Morrisville Councilman Michael Schlink, who lives in Breckenridge, said he is optimistic the town will find a solution.
“To me it’s certainly doable,” Schlink said. “I don’t think we are going to have to spend $1 million for road improvements. I’ve floated the idea (of) why can’t we do a gravel road. Or we can do it in stages like we’ve done for other projects.”
Schlink said it’s important for the town to hold up their end of the deal.
“We made a promise to our citizens, and I think we should deliver on that before we move forward on other things,” he said.
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