Park plan adopted

Published 8:22 pm Thursday, January 29, 2015

MIKE VOSS | DAILY NEWS PARK PLAN: Susan Suggs explains the revised master plan for Havens Gardens, one of the city’s most popular parks.

PARK PLAN: Susan Suggs explains the revised master plan for Havens Gardens, one of the city’s most popular parks.

Changes are in store for Havens Gardens, one of Washington’s most popular parks.

The Washington City Council, during its meeting Monday, unanimously adopted the updated Havens Gardens master plan prepared by Susan Suggs.

Suggs’ revised plan calls for 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 plan also calls for building a second pier at the park, a pedestrian pier that would join the existing fishing pier at the park.

Suggs said Havens Gardens needs major repair and/or replacement projects because it is “loved to death” by the people who use the park.

“We did make a few changes to it … based on public input, but not a whole lot of changes to the master plan, based on public input,” Suggs told the council. “Last Tuesday, we held a public meeting at the recreation department, and we had quite a few people there. The response to the plan was very, very favorable.”

Suggs said implementing the plan would make Havens Gardens more accessible to handicapped people and safer, especially play areas for children.

The improvements included in the plan will be split into two phases, if not more.  The council wants the first phase of the proposed Havens Gardens improvement project split into two components as the city seeks grant funding to pay for the project.

To help pay for implementing the plan, the council, during a meeting late last year, unanimously authorized the city to apply for Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant funds. The application deadline for grant funding in the upcoming grant cycle is Monday. The city is seeking $500,000 during that cycle.

The city will apply for the grant funding in two consecutive grant-funding cycles.

If an initial grant were awarded to the city, the grant would reimburse the city up to 50 percent of the cost to implement the first phase of the Havens Gardens master plan. The initial cost to implement the first phase came in at just over $800,000, according to a city document. The maximum grant the city could receive during any funding cycle is $500,000. If the city applied for grant funding in just one grant cycle, that would mean the city would need additional money from other grant sources to complete first phase, according to the document, or the project would need to be scaled back to “fit the grant.”

The first phase of the project has been scaled back so it could fit the anticipated grant of $500,000 (maximum).


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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