Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Residents Want Park, Not Pipes


By By Skip Descant

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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FAYETTEVILLE — Restoring the banks of a washed-out drainage ditch in Red Oak Park can be done in several approaches.

Or, not at all.

“Do you want something done?” asked Shirley Lucas, a Fayetteville City Council member, during Monday night’s Ward 4 meeting where residents met to discuss the future of the small park.

“It’s a nice little natural area,” said Pete Futterknecht, who lives in the area, and wants the bank restoration not to appear overly engineered.

City park and engineering officials used the ward meeting to gather feedback from residents regarding how they would like to see the eroded drainage ditch that flows through the small park near the Bridgeport, Willow Springs and Fieldstone subdivisions restored.

One of the city’s restoration options would use pipes to channel the water to nearby Hamestring Creek. The piping and “plunge pools” would cut down on erosion, said Chris Brown, Fayetteville city engineer.

“We really didn’t like that idea,” said Carole Jones, a park planner for the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Division.

This solution is expected to cost about $490,000, according to city documents.

The second option presented Monday night would use less piping and instead create a series of “ponding areas,” where the water would collect, drop its debris load and hopefully slow down. This solution would likely mean the removal of an existing park pavilion. This proposal could cost about $215 000.

Neither of these options seemed to be wholly embraced by residents who were clear in their desire to have a natural wooded park accessible to the dozens of homes in the nearby neighborhood.

“If you remove the pavilion, Bridgeport has lost its park,” said Paul Johnson, president of the Bridgeport Property Owners Association, and who views existing features like tables, benches, grills or basketball courts as essential to his community having a neighborhood park.

The amount of water flowing through the drainage ditch is not likely to drop. The area is heavily built with new subdivisions and Oakbrook Phase III is planned on an adjoining 30-acre plot. So residents are looking for a solution that slows the water down.

“I know there’s got to be something that we can do to slow this velocity, upstream,” Futterknecht said.

That “something” is what city officials will be looking at in the coming weeks as they draft a concept plan to be accepted by the City Council and then the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Public comments are due by the end of the day Friday, and should be sent to the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Division.

News, Pages 1 on 12/01/2009

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