Waxhaw leaders will enlist in an engineering firm to update its downtown park master plan so the town is better positioned to go after major grants.
Town commissioners adopted such a plan just three years ago. Parks and Recreation Director Dena Sabinske said that plan didn’t include the community corner and downtown connectivity. It could use some updated community input as well.
“Grants that are highly sought after, you need the most updated plan to help you get your point system up and help you understand the community needs and wants at this moment in time,” Sabinske told commissioners Oct. 13. “We’re going to take these bones from this plan and update it to what our needs are now for Waxhaw.”
Waxhaw has somewhat of a reputation for creating plans. In fact, the company charged with updating the downtown master plan, Benesch, recently helped Waxhaw create a parks and recreation strategic master plan.
Mayor Pro-Tem Brenda McMillon expressed some skepticism about the process. McMillon said she wanted to see action and detailed-oriented plans as opposed to “more paperwork, more planning, more consultants.”
Sabinske convinced commissioners that she would be using the latest plan as a checklist. She covets the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which provides grants for up to $500,000. While PARTF grants require a local match, they could help the town knock out infrastructure costs, she said.
Such grants have been used to fund Crooked Creek Park in Indian Trail, Dogwood Park in Wesley Chapel, Fairview Park, Stallings Municipal Park and others. Waxhaw has never received one.
Sabinske told commissioners that Benesch has a track record of securing $35 million in PARTF and Land and Water Conservation Fund grants over the past 20 years.
Jon Wood, a senior project manager with Benesch, said his firm recently helped secure more than $400,000 in PARTF grant funding for Monroe by preparing a plan for Belk Tonawanda Park’s expansion.
“There’s still some paper involved, but there’s going to be more design, more site plans that you’ll get to see, touch and feel,” Wood said.
The plan will serve as a transition between the parks and recreation strategic master plan and more schematic design plans for a downtown park. The public will have a chance to provide input on that design.
Town Manager Jeffrey Wells wants the public to know that the plan needs to be realistic.
“We can’t just jam all kinds of things into a piece of property like that,” Wells said. “We have to be very mindful. We want to do some really great, cool things and have some great ideas programmed in there, but we also have to be able to do it with what we realistically can spend on it.”