With Knightdale Station Park taking off in popularity especially after the second phase, the town’s goal for its “destination park” dream is quickly becoming a reality.
Town leaders stepped a little closer to that reality when they discussed expansion of the 70-acre park’s master plan during their monthly meeting last week.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Land Use Review Board recommended several additions to the town’s contracted design firm, including expanded parking, additional playgrounds and a larger dog park.
“We do have a parking problem and we are looking at ways to address that,” Zak Pierce of Cary-based CLH Design firm said of his recommendations. “It is a good problem to have.”
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Because the Ashley Wilder Dog Park on the south end of the park has soared in popularity, Pierce noted that the two parks for small dogs and larger dogs could be combined and another small park be added on the east end for the most efficiency.
Pierce also suggested that natural play areas would be encouraged, a continuation of the style of the current chicken coop and silo and the natural playground featured at Wendell Falls. And with increased use of the main field, he recommended a synthetic turf to complement the existing lighting.
“At this point there’s no funding for these,” Planning Director Chris Hills said in an interview. “It’s important for the property ... to have a plan for the next 5-10 years as funding (is budgeted).”
The town originally budgeted about $3.5 million for the second phase of the park’s development. Voters passed a bond referendum in 2012 to help pay for it.
Parks and Recreation Director Tina Cheek added that planning ahead is both practical and strategic in applying for grants, since a complete master plan with all needs listed gives the town a better score.
“A few of these original items weren’t on the original plan,” Cheek said, referring to the deconstructed arboretum as one example. “If it was finished tomorrow, what we want to see? ... It helps us moving forward.”
Included in the updated plan is mostly expanded parking areas – especially street parking along Wilder Nursery Trail near the dog park and playground – more lighting, a splashpad (a wet play area for children), an additional playground and additional shelters, as well as a nursery trail.
“It’s based on comments we’re receiving. We’ll present another proposal before consideration in the next month or so. We’re working through the timeline,” Hills said. “The biggest thing changed from (the) original is the old town (downtown) concept. The other elements are variations of things already talked about. From our perspective, this is totally a conceptual plan.”
Other plans discussed include:
▪ Disc golf course
▪ Tennis courts with lighting
▪ Two sand volleyball courts
▪ Three picnic shelters
▪ Skate park
▪ Scout area
Town staff also discussed the type of seating, quantity of seating and lighting for the future amphitheater and stage.