List of 20 park sites reduced to four
The Village of Wesley Chapel may be one step closer to deciding on a park site, after narrowing the options during the village council’s Monday, November 29 meeting. The board heard a presentation from Parks and Recreation chairman John Lemke, who presented a draft of the committee’s recommendations.
Finding the right location for a park has been a complicated and sometimes heated discussion for the village. The council turned down a $500,000 grant from the state August 1, amid questions as to what the final cost for the Page Price property would be. Page Price made the list of four potential park sites for this second round however, as Lemke explained that it ranked high in the number of amenities offered. Earlier this year, the council turned down a $500,000 grant from the state of North Carolina August 1, amid questions as to what the final cost for the Page Price property would be. Instead of the original $250,000 estimated for work on the park, the number for the property, located on Hwy 84 across from the Price Hill neighborhood, had ballooned up to $410,000.
The other four locations include another previous finalist, the Dogwood Acres property, as well as a site that abuts the first entrance to the Champion Forest subdivision. Lemke said that each of the properties offered several of the amenities residents had requested and also fell within the approved price point.
“We felt 15 acres was the minimum on which we could (build) a park,” Lemke told the council. “We sent out flyers to anyone who owned 15 acres or more in the town.”
That list generated the 20 sites, which progressively got smaller each time the Parks and Rec committee met. In addition to meeting what residents said they wanted, the sites had to fit within the budget. That budget point of $2 million included $1 million on hand the village council said they were willing to spend, along with an assumption Wesley Chapel would again get the $500,000 grant from the state and acquire $500,000 in other funding sources over the next five years.
“If we limited (the discussion) to what (funding) we have on hand, we can’t afford any of them,” Lemke said.
Because a portion of the Page Price property would be donated, Lemke said the Parks and Rec committee saw it as the best value for the town’s money.
Additionally, it would provide more amenities than the other options, including a fishing pond, multipurpose fields, trails and an amphitheater. At a land purchase cost of $373,000 it would also be the cheapest, as the other properties all come in over $700,000.
Lemke emphasized this presentation was only a draft and nothing is finalized.
“Now we need to do the detailed cost analysis for each one,” Lemke said. That goes beyond the cost of the land, to examine how much the town would have to spend for any repair or maintenance work needed. Unrealized issues with a portion of Page Price was what caused the town to turn down the offer earlier this year. The problem for Page Price dealt with the site’s manmade dam, which after several decades, started to erode. Due to its location near Hwy 84, North Carolina Department of Environmental Resources declared it a high hazard dam, which means it would have to meet a higher state standard, being able to withstand 14 inches of rain within a 24 hour period.
Town council members will hear another update from the committee during their December meeting.
• Dogwood Acres-located at 121 Lester Davis Road
• Page Price-located on Hwy 84 across from the Price Hill neighborhood
• Site Three-located near the intersection of Potter Road and Beulah Church Road
• Site Four-Just off Cuthbertson Road, near the entrance to Champion Forest