July 14, 2007  BELMONT – With its first meeting to ask the public for input on a new riverfront park, Belmont is developing a more detailed recreation plan for its upcoming $12 million bond referendum.

City Council voted last week to apply to the Local Government Commission for approval to put the bonds on the November ballot.

The Parks and Recreation advisory committee recommended a total of $10.8 million to build new parks and improve existing ones.

The council, which has faced escalating project costs before, increased the amount to $12 million.

The bonds would be issued over seven years and as Belmont’s population grows, the impact on property taxes will be minimal, possibly 1 to 2 cents, City Manager Barry Webb said.

Here’s a look at what the referendum will cover and the priority of projects:

  •  $115,000 for skateboard park
    First priority is a skateboard park on land owned by the city at Davis Park, said Sallie Stevenson, Parks and Recreation director.
    “The city bought the land years ago,” she said. “We’re just keeping our promise.”
    Recreation workers have been meeting with skaters, who will help plan the layout and ramps.
    “We want to make it something they want to use,” Stevenson said.
  • $1,200,000 to buy land and $5,100,000 to develop a 30-acre athletic park that would include multiple ballfields and soccer fields
    The city has not chosen a property for the park, but it will be a high priority as the cost of land increases annually, Stevenson said.
  • $1,500,000 to develop trails and park areas on property at Woodrow Avenue and Sacco Streets near Reid Park
    The 28-acres of hills and woods is ideal for walking and mountain bike trails, Stevenson said.
    “It would look like a state park, but in the city.”
  • 1,500,000 to develop a riverfront park on Catawba Street near the U.S. 74 bridge
    The area has been used for years by fishermen and includes an island in the middle of the river. Amenities could include boat launches, picnic areas, walking trails and paddleboats.
    The city owns the land, and a buyer is in the process of moving or demolishing the three abandoned houses there.
  •  $1,000,000 to build restrooms at existing parks
    “That’s become our citizens’ number one request over the last 10 years,” Stevenson said.
    The city also needs to purchase the land at Crescent Park near Adam’s Bluff, she said. Stowe Mills has been letting the city use the land for free without an agreement. 
  • $402,000 to build four neighborhood mini parks of about an acre each.
    They usually include a playground, a half basketball court and a small lawn.

You can reach Heidi Flick at (704) 869-1817.
Source Article: http://www.gastongazette.com/news/park_7184___article.html/city_land.html

A million dollars for “potties in parks”? Com’on recreation committee! The brick, non-air conditioned new facility in Stowe Park didn’t cost that much. At roughly $250,000 each, you would get four facilities in four different parks (Davis — which already has restrooms at the ballfield; Rhodden; the new waterfront park; and now Crescent) . Seems to us, that those restrooms also need to have security issues reviewed and long-term maintenance and replacement costs incorporated into the plans. Is this the same city that tore down facilities at Reid Park a few years ago?

Since this article was written, the city presented plans to begin developing the waterfront park. We haven’t found any links to that plan just yet. Several people at that presentation basically threatened to not support this bond issue if their “pet” projects weren’t included. That is unfortunate, because this is the first time the City of Belmont has ever considered this type of financing for our growing Parks and Recreation demands.

We are supporting this bond referendum in November.