Bond projects will transform city parks

Bond projects will transform city parks
July 28
08:15 2016



The next few years will see a transformation in parks across the city thanks to bond projects currently in the works.

The bonds will address many capital needs at aging local parks while also creating new amenities and three new parks. The recreation and parks bond was one of five bonds approved by voters in 2014.  It garnered 69 percent of the vote.

Only the street and sidewalk bond received more votes.

“That tells you that the community values your recreation and parks facilities,” said Recreation and Parks Director Tim Grant.

The recreation bonds totaled $30.85 million. There are bond projects in every ward in the city, with most of the money being spent on the east side of the city.

The East Ward is the biggest recipient with $11.5 million dollars for projects like the Happy Hill Park renovations. Happy Hill Park is among the largest recreation bond projects at $5 million. The project is currently in its design phase and will overhaul the park, which is in need of repair. Improvements will include new picnic shelters, playing fields, more parking and expanding the park to Liberia Street.

The tennis courts, which are currently un-useable, will be done away with. Grant said that Recreation and Parks wasn’t able to get the money to repair them in the past. He said other tennis courts at other places, such as Hathaway Park, are also closed because they’re in disrepair. He said because of limited resources, the Grant department focuses

on maintaining courts that are heavily used or that host league and tournament play.

There’s also a $5 million project currently under construction for a Winston Lake Aquatics Facility.  Other projects in the ward are Winston Lake Golf Course renovations, building a gymnasium at Sedge Garden Recreation Center, and water spray-grounds at both Sedge Garden and Rupert Bell parks.

Spray-grounds are enclosed areas with motion activated sprinklers. Grant said they’ll be a great place for parents to take their kids to play in the water without having to get dressed for the pool. The new bond projects will let Winton-Salem join cities like Greensboro and Charlotte in having spray-grounds located around the city.

The Southeast Ward is the second largest recipient with $8.23 million. This includes $4 million for Quarry Park construction, which will turn the former 220-acre Vulcan Quarry into a park with a freshwater lake surround by cliffs, which is expected to be a major draw to the area.

“It’s going to be a totally unusual experience for people,” said Grant.

Also in the ward is a $4 million project for Salem Lake Marina.  A large section of the popular park is currently closed for construction, which will add a new play-ground, a new multifunctional marina center, new restrooms and expanded lakefront activities. Nearby Reynolds Park will also be getting a spray-ground.

The Northeast Ward got $1.73 million split among many bond projects. These include a water spray-gound at Mineral Springs Pool, Winston Lake Golf Course renovations, Carver tennis court resurfacing and improvements at Bowen Boulevard, Fairview, Nichols and Blum Parks.

There are many other improvements and additions to parks in the rest of the city, along with new parks. There’s $3 million for the construction currently happen-ing to create the new Jamison Park on 36 acres of land the city owns on Meadowlark Drive.  It will include parking, a picnic shelter, playground, amphitheater, access to the Muddy Creek Greenway, a walking trail and a dog park. There’s also $1 mil-lion used to acquire land near the intersection of Bethabara Road and Shattalon Drive for a new park.

Along with the bonds, Recreation and Parks also got $992,000 for capital improvements from the city’s general fund this fiscal year. These improvements include ceiling and roof repairs at the Sims Recreation Center. There’ll be basketball court resurfacing at Crawford, Skyland, Reynolds Park, Old Town, Hanestown, Blum, Belview and Hathaway parks. Bolton Park will have walking trail resurfacing, a new hydration station and exercise equipment replacement. The money also covers expanding parking at the popular South Fork Recreation Center, replacing a wall at Grace Court, picnic shelter renovations, softball field improvements and soccer field renovations and irrigation.

Grant said the money from the bonds and the city budget only addresses some of the capital recreation needs. He said the city is aware of the need to update decades-old recreation centers and hopes to address that in the future. He said the money going to improve parks is a good investment that will make the city an even more desirable place to work and live.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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