A little-used park in northwest Raleigh could eventually have trails, open space and educational areas.
The city council has approved a master plan for Wooten Meadows Park, a 21-acre site at the intersection of Leesville and Millbrook roads.
“It’s been somewhat disgraceful,” Councilman Dickie Thompson said of the condition of the park, much of which is overgrown. “I think that our residents will really be glad to see this and use this.”
The city acquired the land about 20 years ago from the Wooten family. Since then, the park has been used for mulch storage and informal sports games, and some people have simply forgotten about it.
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Jennifer Hoverstad worked on a citizen committee to create the master plan for the park. She said it was challenging to make use of the entire park, which has a lot of trees.
Plans had to account for the park’s location, which is in a floodplain. That limits the kind of structures that can be built on the land. Plus, the park backs up to several privately owned properties.
The citizen committee kept that in mind and opted to keep most of the space natural, Hoverstad said.
“The plan is very understated but I think it’s going to be unique,” she said.
It calls for natural and paved trails and educational nooks to learn about the site, which includes Hare Snipe Creek and an old mill.
A group of residents appointed by the city council began planning the park’s future in 2014. In a survey, residents said they were interested in playgrounds, walking and running trails and park benches.
Residents who have contacted the city about the park in recent years have also expressed interest in developing athletic fields, project manager Matthew Keough said. The park used to be a site for the Capital Area Soccer League.
CASL used Wooten Meadows Park as a practice field in 2005, but neighbors complained about loud and disruptive games.
A turf is included in the master plan, but it will be large enough only for informal gatherings, not organized sports.
A large meadow will provide space for picnics, according to the plan, and there is space to expand the meadow and connect the city’s popular greenway system to the park.
At the front of the park, there will be swings and natural play areas that use materials such as logs and stumps.
Master plans don’t typically include a way to fund a project. Instead, the document serves as a guide for when the city can fund a project.
About $300,000 has been set aside from the city’s capital improvement fund for the park, Keough said. That amount will cover design costs.
Construction will likely begin early next year.