City seeks public input for regional park plan

Frederick News-Post (MD), 2014-08-04

Aug. 04 --As city officials prepare to transform the old Hargett Farm on Butterfly Lane into Westside Regional Park , they're seeking public input for the final time.

In the first of three meetings scheduled for this week, Roelkey Myers, the city's deputy director of parks and recreation, presented the tentative park master plan and opened the floor for questions, concerns and comments.

"We know what we can supply and what we have shortages of. There have been a ton of considerations put in to date," Myers said. "These last meetings are the finishing touches, one last chance for the public to weigh in."

Myers said they will finalize the master plans following the meetings and present it to the mayor and Board of Alderman for approval. The project is expected to cost $51.3 million and would include an aquatic center and outdoor water park, 12 multipurpose fields, miles of walking paths, and an adventure park, Myers said.

About 10 people showed up Sunday afternoon at the Hill Street Park pavilion for the first meeting.

Much of the conversation Sunday surrounded the fields, as local residents expressed concerns about the choice of only multipurpose fields and drainage.

Mike Kline , president of Frederick National Little League , said the baseball community in Frederick is in need of more strategically placed baseball diamonds.

"People are asking for us to host tournaments, and the fields aren't close together," he said.

Myers said they understand the need for diamonds in close proximity. Multipurpose fields could facilitate soccer, football, rugby, lacrosse, field hockey and more, with each sport's required lines drawn in a different color paint, and are in higher demand, he said.

Aldermen Donna Kuzemchak and Michael O'Connor also attended the meeting, and Kuzemchak pointed out that many sports have seen a surge in popularity.

"I have nothing against baseball, but when we're spending this kind of money, we want to get the most bang out of our buck," Myers said.

Dave Satterfield , of Frederick , said he gives the plan a "thumbs up," though he urged officials to consider how drainage would affect the new fields. Other existing fields off Butterfly Lane cause stormwater to run off into a ditch, he said, a failure of the design.

"You're going to have to fix that," he said. "Putting more fields in isn't going to fix it."

Myers said he hoped more people would show up, but there are more opportunities for the public to offer suggestions. If the lack of baseball facilities continues to come up, they may alter the master plan to include those.

The meetings were purposely scheduled to appeal to a wide range of people, he said.

"With stuff like this, you just never know," Myers said.

Follow Laura Blasey on Twitter : @lblasey.


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