Construction plan approved for the city’s Valley Park

by Robb Fulcher

The city council has taken one more step toward a roughly $1.7 million overhaul that will give Valley Park a new restroom building, play equipment, picnic tables and benches, and a resurfaced basketball area and soccer field.

The council on Tuesday approved preliminary construction plans and began to look for state funding for the project, which may begin as early as the spring. A developer has not been selected.

Officials expect to use grants from the state government and other recreation-related funds, including fees from construction developers and leftover money from revamping the greenbelt.

Councilwomen Julie Oakes and Kathy Dunbabin said they will try to find ways to lower the cost of a new restroom building, which currently stands at $130,000.

In addition, the council plans to look into the cost of weeding dug-up areas of the park manually rather than using herbicides, before replanting. Proponents of manual weeding want to cut back the use of herbicides to protect the environment.

The council’s plans call for removal of two of the park’s four basketball goals in an attempt to encourage casual play and discourage serious full-court play, for which the Clark field courts were designed. The Valley hoops will be adjustable in height.

Council members also plan to run concrete paths to the park’s major areas of use, to comply with federal law on handicapped access. They are considering muted colors of concrete to make the paths easy on the eye. ER