Park development has been put on the front burner by Matthews town council at the urging of the town’s parks and recreation advisory committee.
“We want to proceed immediately with work on Sardis Road and Fullwood Park,” said Gary Palmer, head of the advisory committee. “It is particularly important that we get started on Sardis Park because the easement agreement with the City of Charlotte reads that the agreement may be terminated if a public park is not established in a reasonable amount of time.”
Monday night, the advisory committee submitted a cost estimate for development of both parks. As designed, Sardis-Matthews Park is an active park with volley ball court, a playground and a picnic area. Fullwood Park is termed a passive park and will have walking trails and a less structured play field where families can play a game of pick-up baseball or fly kites.
The committee proposes to construct Sardis-Matthews Park in three phases. The first phase would include a getting ready stage—clearing the land, installing proper drainage, landscaping, signs and gravel the parking area. It would also include the purchase and installation of picnic tables, barbecue grills and playground equipment. Total cost for phase I is $66,800.
During phase II, plans call for the construction of a picnic shelter, adding benches, installing a multipurpose playing field, providing more landscaping and installing a bike rack. This phase will cost $31,000.
Phases III plans include installing a 1/2 basketball court at a total cost of $11,000.
“It should be noted that the town did a development study back in 1990 on Sardis-Matthews Park and our update shows costs have remained relatively stable for the work,” said Palmer. “Therefore the opportunity still exists to complete these parks without significant increase in costs.”
According to a work schedule provided by the parks advisory committee, Sardis-Matthews Park could be ready for opening Labor Day weekend. The committee hopes that a bid advertisement can be published by April 24 with the project awarded in late May.
The advisory committee proposes to also do the work on Fullwood in three phases. Phase I would again be the necessary grading, providing property drainage, signs, gravel and lights. The plans also indicate a need for a 6-foot wide, 30-foot long bridge across a creek located in the park. This phase is expected to cost about $67,500.
Phase II includes necessary clean-up of the property from damage caused by Hurricane Hugo. According to the parks committee report, trees are down in the area and must be removed and the banks of a stream on the property need work. The second phase also calls for grading and paving of a parking lot. This phase is expected to cost about $13,500.
Phase III, fitting the planned trails in Fullwood with exercise stations will cost $10,000. It should be noted that all construction cost figures may be elevated if for instance crews run into problems.
The park committee also hopes this park can be ready in late August.
During last Monday night’s town council meeting, commissioners asked Palmer to discuss the work that needs to be done on the parks to see if some of it can be provided by town employees.
The town also is selling a strip of land which was included in the Squirrel Lake Park acquisition to Ashley Creek developer Don Galloway. The money realized from this sale could be used in whole or in part to pay for construction costs at Sardis-Matthews and Fullwood Parks.