Havens Gardens project on council’s agenda

Published 7:56 pm Wednesday, October 1, 2014

During its meeting Monday, the Washington City Council will consider awarding a contract not to exceed $7,200 to Susan Suggs to complete an updated site-specific master plan for Havens Gardens.

The city’s Recreation Advisory Committee recommends the awarding of the contract. On March 9, 2009, the council adopted a previous site-specific master plan for Havens Gardens prepared by Suggs.

During the RAC’s January 2014 meeting, the committee decided to ask the council to re-appropriate funds left over from the Festival Park project budget. On March 10, the committee asked the council for funds to update the master plan for Havens Gardens. The council chose not to grant that request until the committee had further reviewed the initial plan and set specific recommendations for changes to it.

An updated site-specific plan for Havens Gardens is needed to apply for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant to help pay for completing the project, according to a city document.

Suggs suggests moving the Havens Gardens parking lot south of N.C. Highway 32 westward to provide more open area at the east end of the park. She also recommends adding a loop walking trail west of the parking lot. Other suggestions include building a shelter on the west end of Havens Gardens so it overlooks the Pamlico River, provide a fenced-in play area for small children and adding facilities for a splash park, bocce and beach volleyball.

The council also is scheduled to resume its discussion on a proposal to bring back to a $30 fee per participant (the amount charged prior to the City Council’s approval of the “kids play free” program) as a way of helping offset some of the costs associated with maintaining the sports facilities instead of increasing the use of tax dollars to pay for such costs.

The council talked about the proposal during its Sept. 22 meeting but decided it needed more information specifically concerning how imposing the fee could affect scholarships some sports leagues provide so underprivileged children can play in those leagues.

Sports leagues that use city facilities have expressed concern that reviving the $30 per player fee could result in fewer children playing sports because their families could not afford it.

City Manager Brian Alligood has told the council the issue before it is whether to impose a fee or use tax dollars to pay for maintenance of city recreation facilities, including those used by sports leagues. At the Sept. 22 meeting, council members also noted that some sports programs that use city facilities have many players who do not live in the city but use city facilities while playing sports. Their parents are not city taxpayers, city officials noted.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at www.washingtonnc.gov, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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