Troutman officials weighing public input for ESC Park projects
Troutman third graders wrote hundreds of post cards asking for PARTF grant support of Phase 2 of ECS Park development.
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Troutman officials held a public input session on Monday evening in an effort to learn what amenities residents would like to see added to ESC Park. Improvements from the first phase of development included soccer fields, a pavilion, playground, exercise trail, dog park (opening next month), and parking areas.
Town Planner Erika Martin is currently working on a second Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant application for phase two of the development. The grant would provide dollar-for-dollar matching grants for public parks and recreational projects.
PARTF is also the primary funding source to build or renovate facilities in state parks and to purchase land for new parks or to expand already established parks. The fund can grant up to $500,000 for a park project.
In 2011, the town received $500,000 in PARTF grant funds to establish the park. Most of that money went to grading and clearing the wooded area where the park is located, according to Town Manager Justin Longino.
Plans for the next phase include an interactive splash pad, a walking trail around the soccer field, an amphitheater and additional sidewalks. Officials wanted citizens’ help to prioritize the projects and to also learn if other needs should be included in the next stage of development.
A few people dropped by to voice their preferences. John Larew hopes that the walking track will be the first project tackled in the next phase since it will serve folks mostly year round and will probably be less expensive than the other two major projects.
Larew would also like to see the town investigate adding exercise equipment geared toward seniors and the disabled. A unit of several pieces of exercise equipment added to the perimeter of the playground area would run around $15,000, according to Larew’s research.
Larew also looks forward to the amphitheater, which would be another gathering place for the community. He suggested that town officials also look to community arts groups and arts grants to help pay for this project. He recommended a band shell-type construction for better sound projection.
Parks and Recreation Coordinator Emily Watson said that the amphitheater will be very basic, with the seating depending on the amount of money raised. The town engineer is currently putting together a preliminary drawing for the amphitheater.
Watson said that the planned splash pad will be an extension of the pavilion so that it can be used for additional paved seating area during off-season events such as the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The children in the community are very enthusiastic about the splash pad. Third-graders visiting Town Hall to learn about the local government this week wrote hundreds of post cards to send in with the PARTF grant application, and they all mentioned their excitement about playing on the splash pad during the hot summer months.
Rebecca Lopez also dropped in to voice her support for the grant and continued park expansion. She is particularly excited to use the dog park soon since she currently has to go to Mooresville to play with her pup.
Get Fit Iredell funds are also helping to purchase two large sunshades, which will be installed in June, to cover the large central piece of playground equipment. The grant covered 75 percent of the cost, with town funds covering the remaining 25 percent. The shades, which cost $12,000, will help cool the play surfaces during warm weather.
Two annual fundraisers also help raise funds for the park, including the Sprint into Spring 5K/10K and the upcoming ESC Park golf tournament. Supporters also bought 200 engraved bricks, which will form a wagon wheel design in a garden area near the pavilion.
The town also budgets funds toward park projects and maintenance each year. Officials are currently putting together their recreation money request to Town Council, which will be presented during upcoming budget planning sessions.