HOLMES BEACH – Though commissioners didn’t approve City Engineer Lynn Burnett’s entire layout for the city field complex, they did combine her plan and theirs to create a layout that could work for everyone.
During an Oct. 9 work session, Burnett provided commissioners with an updated concept plan for the remodel of the city field complex, located adjacent to city hall. In her plan, she moved the baseball field slightly to the southeast, making the field a multiuse area rather than a designated ball field. Where third base and part of the outfield are now, she suggested installing a new concrete skate park, demolishing the old one and using that area to relocate the construction staging area currently taking up part of the parking lot near the basketball courts and dog park.
She recommended moving the city’s shuffleboard courts to the current home plate area, adding a bocce court and horseshoe pits along the first base area and pushing the large dog park north into the current staging area. She also suggested relocating the tot lot park from Marina Drive to next to the existing gazebo on Flotilla Drive and creating a parking and focal point entry area long Marina Drive. Eventually, she said the whole complex could be surrounded by a multi-use track with exercise stations.
Over a two-year period, including the current fiscal year, she projects the project will cost an estimated $300,000 to complete.
While commissioners were in favor of some items, such as relocating the staging area and the tot lot, the two big items, the dog park and the skate park, caused some concern.
Commissioner Judy Titsworth got the ball rolling on a compromise, one that dog park users in attendance at the work session approved of when she suggested using the third base and outfield area for the large dog park, allowing for a large dog run.
Titsworth said the placement would put the dogs further away from residential neighbors and allow the small dog park, which is expected to remain in its current location, to share a fence with the large dog park, allowing users to speak with each other and dogs to chase each other along the fence. She said the main two things for Burnett to consider with the relocation of the dog park is that the park should not be any smaller than its current size and adequate drainage will be needed.
Dog park users in attendance at the work session agreed with Titsworth’s plan. Both Don Anthony and Renee Ferguson said they were “very, very happy” with the new plan for the dog park. Anthony suggested leaving the third baseline dugout in place to provide a shaded spot for dog park users to sit just outside the proposed park area.
Burnett agreed to study the area and measure it to make sure that the improvements planned for the dog park would fit and that adequate drainage could be obtained.
After a lengthy discussion, commissioners also asked Burnett to study the feasibility of moving the skate park so that it fronts Marina Drive, where noise from skaters would be near commercial businesses rather than residential homes. They also suggested moving the parking area more toward the east along the city hall side of the park complex and expanding the Flotilla Drive parking area near the dog park and basketball courts. This, they suggested, could better serve park goers and overflow parking from the nearby public boat ramp.
Burnett agreed to come back before commissioners at a future work session with a new plan for city field incorporating their suggestions.