Town expects county, park to pay fair share
While the Weddington town council wants to put an end to the ongoing Opttimist Park debate, they also want to make sure everyone involved pays a fair share. At their Monday, Nov. 14 meeting, council members unanimously voted to pay an additional $10,000 or a third of the new bill presented by attorneys and engineering firms in the case.
“We’re going to pay a third, we don’t care who else pays a third,” Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson said. “Our portion is going to be an extra $10,000.”
Anderson and other council members said they felt the Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association should cover some of the costs toward
When Optimist Park, 5211 Weddington Road, was built by the Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association, too much dirt was added to the site, which sits in a floodplain, to build the ball fields. According to county officials, the floodplain was raised, causing nearby backyards to flood. Federal officials told the county and the town of Weddington, which had annexed the property, they had to address the issue or nearby residents would lose their flood insurance. In September 2009, the county hired Greensboro-based U.S. Infrastructure to conduct a detailed study of the Optimist Park floodplain and determine options to solve the problem. Then in April 2010, the parties hired Ernest Abbott, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and senior partner for FEMA Law Associates, a firm specializing in floodplain
The plan calls for removing 2 to 4 feet of dirt from the park. That will lower the existing floodway, creating better hydraulic capacity for the stream, which turn will reduce flooding.
The question is who will pay the rest of the additional costs, as the agreement calls for a 50-50 split between the county and town. Park officials say they can’t afford to contribute, with several programs either in the red or barely making budget.
All total, the town of Weddington has spent $150,000 working toward a solution with the county.