Eastern Wake News

Town approves Parks and Recreation plan

After the Board of Commissioners approved the Wendell Parks and Recreation Department’s request to apply for a Parks and Recreation Ttrust Fund grant, the Board OK’s a five-year spending plan.

While applying for the grant, which commissioners approved last fall, the department is required to catalog its needs for the next five years.

The town’s grant application will essentially receive higher consideration as soon the capital improvement plan is approved by the town, said Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Polaski.

Commissioners had previously discussed many of the projects, so their approval was swift. Town staff will incorporate the funding during each designated fiscal year when commissioners approve annual budgets.

From 2015 to 2020, the department’s capital needs totaled $1,321,250 and would be heavily allotted in the first two years and lessen by 2020.

Wendell Park was at the top of the list, with a need for handicapped-accessible amenities, a soccer field, playgrounds, a walking trail, game courts and parking lots.

“The needs for the park would be greater. It’s our hub, it’s our place,” Polaski said.

The capital improvement plan lists the additional facilities as the first priority starting in the next fiscal year and would cost $557,000, using some of the PRTF money.

Starting in 2017, the department has designated $220,000 using local funds to new restrooms and a picnic shelter.

The same year, the department would like to build a new extreme sports park for skateboards, roller blades and BMX bikes. The trust fund would contribute to the estimated $200,000 cost for the cement park. Although it’s not a high priority, Polaski said that it was worth applying for because half of the project would be covered with the grant.

Future plans

Two other projects to be implemented in 2018 would be lighting for one of the fields and a parking lot. Each project would cost $90,000, helped by the trust fund.

Carver Fields, which are currently used for youth baseball and softball, do not have restrooms or a concession stand, which will cost $80,000. According to the capital improvement plan, the fields and the storage building are also in need of renovation. Field restoration, which will cost an estimated $10,000, is the higher priority.

Although the fields are owned by Wake County schools, restrooms are so badly needed for events that the town has decided to move forward using town funds with construction by 2020. Town manager Teresa Piner said that new agreements would be made with the Wake County school system contracts to give the town priority in their use.

A future neighborhood park, located on the north side of Wendell Boulevard across from South Selma Road, is also listed as a priority on the capital improvement plan.

Despite the property’s tendency to flood, the department would like to contribute $75,000 for a playground and a picnic shelter to be installed in 2016-2017 without a parking lot or raising the land.

At the J. Ashley Wall Towne Square, the capital improvement plan has designated $10,000 for electrical and pedestrian improvements during the 2016-2017 fiscal year to better host many holiday events, although this is not a high priority.

Finally, the department listed a future regional park in the plan. This would be a multi-purpose building that includes a gym and additional baseball, softball and soccer fields to meet the needs the town anticipates with future growth. Although this park would not be specifically part of the five-year plan, it was listed so that the town could begin looking into property and funding.