City to seeking contributions to pay for plan on Bug House Park makeover

Published 9:58 pm Friday, June 15, 2018

Washington’s Bug House Park might be getting a makeover, one designed by some East Carolina University students.

“I asked Kristi (Roberson, the city’s parks and recreation director) to actually contact East Carolina University. They have a master’s program over there. She’s met with them. They would like to come over and have their MBA students actually take a look at Bug House Park,” City Manager Bobby Roberson told the City Council during its meeting Monday. “I’m asking the council for us to go out and solicit the community. It’s $10,000 to come up with a proposal. They would have the cost allocation broken down. The important thing about Bug House Park is it’s a backup park. As you well know, Havens Gardens is used extensively, and for small kids it’s become a little bit of an issue for us. We’d like to enhance Bug House Park. … I think it’s important for us to take a look at the park and bring it up to date for the small kids.”

Councilman Doug Mercer said, “You’re saying ECU wants $10,000 for their graduate students to do that?”

“That’s correct, and produce all the costs elements. … It’s going to be plan that says you can phase it in over X number of years and this is how much you can choose depending on how much money is available for it,” Roberson said.

“A working plan?” said Councilman Roland Wyman.

“It’s a working plan,” Roberson said.

Mercer asked where the $10,000 for the plan would come from.

“I’m going to hit that Rotary Club for about $9,000,” Roberson said, drawing laughter from the council members and others. He also said he would approach other civic organizations.

“We’re going to go out and make the circuit. We’re going to go out and talk to individuals about donating money,” he said. After the plan is developed, the city would seek donations to pay for implementing the plan, he said.

The city has been discussing the Bug House Park tennis courts (not usable in their existing condition) and exploring related options for several years.

Bug House Park occupies the former site of the Bug House Laboratory, which later became the Washington Field Museum, said to have been the largest amateur museum in the world, according to published reports. The facility had its start in 1923 when four boys — George Ross, John Ratcliff, James Braddy and Dick Dunston — formed a club so they could collect, study and mount insect specimens, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.

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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