Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Public Meeting on Park Improvements

Several of us attended a public meeting this evening at Cobblestone Farm. The meeting was held by city parks planners to discuss 3 projects:
  • Essex Street path and wet meadow (wet meadow III!)
  • Easy Street path and expanded wet meadow I)
  • Reconfiguring the entrance to the pool/ice rink to allow better ADA access, including bikes and strollers
About 6 members of the public and 2 parks representatives were there.

The two path improvements and wet meadows are part of the Buhr Park Stormwater Master Plan. Nice to see it put to good use!

It sounds like the Essex Street path will be done this summer. It will make the path a little straighter and more level than the existing path, which should be good for the kids, parents and others who use it daily for school.
There are a few remaining questions about tieing the path in at both ends. It will be an 8 foot path and it wasn't clear that there was room to tie the path in to Essex at that width or at the other end where the school-maintained path is 4 feet wide.

The wet meadow at Essex should be very nice. Since the path will be levelled off, the grade from the path to the wet meadow will be a little steeper than it is now. There was also a little chatter about technical details - would there be a drain tile installed below the wet meadow? We also requested that seeds and/or plants for this wet meadow come from local sources.

The Easy Street path is proposed to arc southward of the existing path to enable an expanded Wet Meadow I. We talked about keeping it straight and raising it, but it seemed best to move it south in order to have a continuous wet meadow and to better tie in to the cobblestone farm. That path would be 8 feet wide and bike, ADA, stroller friendly. The design will include a foot path or trail that would go through the wet meadow, for those who want a slightly more direct and scenic route to the pool.

The Easy Street path is not on a construction schedule, but having a clear design will make it more likely when funds become available.

Improvements to the Pool/Ice Rink entrance will be to enable better access. The plan is to take off a portion of the east side of the plaza at the entrance. Remove the top set of steps and create a ramp leading down to the parking lot. At the top of the lower set of steps, a ramp will turn left (north) and go down to the sidewalk.

The Pool/Ice Rink entrance improvements are not scheduled.