Council talks funds, beaver problem and open house
The village of Wesley Chapel is continuing to move forward with its planning and construction of a municipal park. The village council refuses to let setbacks hinder this project from being completed and began tackling certain issues at the Monday, April 11 meeting.
The council was pleased to report Wesley Chapel was able to secure a $100,000 resources development grant, most of which will go back to the land purchased for the park. The village is required to set aside a little less than 10 percent the money to be used for the pond area, such as the tracks around the pond, the pier, and the pond itself.
The recreational area, which is tentatively called Dogwood Park at Wesley Chapel, will be constructed on a 22.6 acre piece of property known as “Dogwood Acres.” The village has already purchased approximately 16 acres of this property for $750,000 and hopes to purchase the remaining 6 acres for $300,000 as funds become available.
Not all has been a metaphorical “walk-in-the-park” for the council and park and recreation committee. One issue that continues to be a pebble in their shoes is the problem with beavers in the area. To prevent damage to the park, officials must clear the beavers from the property.
To efficiently and legally accomplish this, the council is turning to the North Carolina Beaver Management Assistance Program. Officials expect this project to cost around $200. The village would receive a discounted price of $20 per visit, with an estimated 10 visits. The council would request an absolute cap of $500 for the project.
However, not everyone was on board with this approach. Council member Todd Hess believed that the village should not put its funds toward this project and that the council should find other, cheaper ways to handle the issue on its own.
Kim Ormiston, another council member, expressed other feelings. “The liability is cheaper at $500 than if something else happens,” she said. The vote for this project passed at 2-1.
A highly discussed and debated issue was the plan to host an open house at the park. The council made it a goal for the open house to take place sometime in July.
The idea for the open house is to have a very simple event, without bringing in many outside activities. The event would be geared toward the community and would introduce local residents to the new park.
A fishing contest was suggested, but Mayor Brad Horvath was concerned about license issues. While individuals would be held responsible for fishing without a license, Horvath was hesitant to allow the village to sponsor an activity that might encourage this.
Despite the enthusiasm displayed by some, others were concerned that the park would not be ready for such an event to take place. Council members and citizens voiced concerns about everything from a lack of a sufficient number of trails to the fact that July is copperhead season.
“I think this is going to be too soon,” Hess said. “We need to make ourselves aware of the hazards that are out there.”
Horvath echoed these concerns. “We need to figure out where we’re at,” he said. “We need to come up with more of a plan.”
Council members did mention the idea of giving community members a quick tour of the house on the park property, where they hope to eventually host a nature center. They also intend to install a security gate and display “no trespassing” signs prior to the event.