The city is beginning to sketch its plans for phase II of Payne Park construction, and it wants the public to play a major part in the planning process.
City officials want to form a Payne Park task force that will host a public meeting at the end of the month in order to gather ideas.
Todd Kucharski, general manager of parks, said he expects the task force to spread the word about phase II plans.
The project calls for a three-ring-circus-themed playground to be placed between the Payne Park auditorium and the walking/jogging track, a public restroom, additional parking spaces, additional picnic benches, a fountain and an electronic sign at the intersection of U.S. 301 and Laurel Street that will display park information.
The city is considering allocating $1.55 million in next year’s budget to the project, but nothing has been appropriated yet, according to city spokeswoman Jan Thornburg. The funds would come from the voter-approved 1% surtax fund.
Kucharski said because surtax funds are less than expected, several improvements that were originally planned for a $9 million phase II had to be put off until phase III. They include: an upgraded auditorium, a band shell and streetscape improvements.
Debbie Price is a frequent Payne Park user. She said she was pleased with the planned improvements, especially the playground, because she takes her grandchildren there often.
“(The new playground) is something I’d like to see,” she said.
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