Published: Feb 16, 2013 04:15 PM
Modified: Feb 16, 2013 04:11 PM
MORRISVILLE - The Town Council wants to keep the long-awaited Northwest Park on the front burner.
The 25-acre RTP Park and two new ball fields at Cedar Fork Park remain the towns top recreation priorities. But Morrisvilles elected leaders are hoping to squeeze in a third project.
The future of Northwest Park could hinge on construction costs, results from grant applications and potential road upgrades.
At this point, doing nothing isnt an option, said Councilman Steve Rao. Its about (looking at) whats viable, whats feasible.
In November, about 700 residents of the Breckenridge community signed a petition asking the Town Council to move forward with plans for Northwest Park, which has been on hold for years because of a lack of money.
To complete all three parks, the town would have to spend about $5 million to $6.5 million more, according to staff estimates.
Morrisville has about $4 million in unused bond money from 2008, about $400,000 in its parkland fund and up to $2.2 million in potential grants and project savings.
The town could choose to tap into its saving account to make up any difference.
Northwest Park could cost up to $2.5 million for a playground, picnic shelter, open field, restrooms and parking. Its still unclear whether the town will need to pave about 1,300 feet of Louis Stephens Drive, which runs along the side of the park. That would drive up the cost.
Town staff are still trying to work out whether its possible to waive local and state development standards and build a gravel road instead, which could save money.
We want to build all three parks, said Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Allen. Patience is the key. All these figures are subject to change in the next six months as bids come in.
In the meantime, the towns parks and recreation advisory board recommended building a $131,000 version of Northwest Park. This cheaper option wouldnt include restrooms or other amenities those would be added when funding becomes available.
Councilman Michael Schlink said the staff need to reconsider all options, especially when it comes to road planning around the park.
The Morrisville Town Council voted 5-2 on Tuesdayto ask the staff to continue researching options for Northwest Park, and maybe potential changes to town policies.
But getting the motion passed wasnt easy. The council squabbled for about 20 minutes over the meaning and intent of Schlinks proposal, even after the motion was approved.
Mayor Jackie Holcombe and Steve Diehl voted against the measure. They said the council voted in July to focus on RTP Park and place other projects on hold until the construction bids came in.
I hate to see the staff spinning their wheels, Diehl said.