The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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January 13, 2014

Albemarle City Council OKs Morehead Park master plan

Dog park, tennis court upgrades move closer to construction

Monday, January 13, 2014 — The Morehead Park Master Plan saw some minor changes before being approved by Albemarle City Council last Monday.

Albemarle Parks and Recreation Director Toby Thorpe originally presented Council with three price-variable options for the park’s master plan.

The most expensive included a full renovation of the tennis courts and a contractor-built dog park. The least expensive has a short-term tennis court crack repair and in-house construction of the dog park.

However, the final version of the master plan, which will be used in a grant application due at the end of the month, included a new way to help cut costs.

“We decided to look at doing a smaller dog park,” Thorpe said.

By cutting the size of the dog park and opting for in-house construction, the city will save approximately $42,000.

This would free-up more money for a full renovation of the tennis courts, which was the No. 1 priority of citizens at a public input meeting in November.

Despite the downsize, Thorpe said the dog park will still be sizable.

It will be larger than the dog parks in Locust and Chapel Hill, he said, and not that much smaller than some of the larger dog parks in Salisbury and Greensboro.

“Looking at our [original] plan, it was probably larger than it needed to be,” Thorpe said.

The dog park will be an essential element to the grant application.

One of the key factors the state looks at when administering these kinds of grants is new park elements, Thorpe said.

“I don’t think the application can do without it,” he said.

The other way Thorpe suggested cutting costs was eliminating new pool shade structures from the master plan.

Doing so would save the city approximately $3,000.

However, Council opted to keep the shade structures in the master plan.

“There’s more concern now about skin cancer than there was when the pool was built,” City Manager Raymond Allen said.

Other elements of the plan that did not change include pool repairs, basketball court repairs and construction of new picnic shelters.

After straightening out the details of the master plan, the city agreed to back Parks and Rec’s trust fund application.

If the application is approved, the city will be responsible for a match of $126,075, which is approximately $15,000 less than than the most expensive option Thorpe presented to the council previously.

The city would then have three years to complete the project and pay those funds.

To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at shannon@stanlynewspress.com.

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