The Transylvania Times -

Dog Park Closer To Being Created - Brevard, NC

 

November 20, 2017

Courtesy Photo

A very preliminary map of what the proposed new dog park could look like on 2.7 acres of property owned by Mission Hospital.

A long-awaited dog park in Brevard may have come one step, or paw, closer to reality.

City Manager Jim Fatland said he talked with officials at Transylvania Regional Hospital about building on a 2.7-acre site owned by the hospital located next to the city's multi-use path.

In a motion made by Councilwoman Ann Hollingsworth during last week's Parks, Trails and Recreation Committee meeting, members unanimously voted to "proceed with the proposed site for the dog park and direct staff to pursue it."

As previously reported last December, in the search for an appropriate site, a dog park sub-committee met with Donald Bayse, the executive director of facilities at Transylvania Regional Hospital, to discuss the site, but Bayse said putting a dog park in that site would interfere with the hospital's plans to eventually build on the site.

Recently, Fatland said he met with hospital officials again and reopened discussions.

"Since the site is not an early part of their master plan, they would keep ownership of the land and we could entertain a lease, with the clause that they give us notice if they needed the property for their master plan," Fatland said. "They currently do not need it, but in the event that they do, I would ask for a one-year notice, and in that time we could find a new location."

Jeffery Brown, of Brown Consultants, a civil engineering firm in Asheville, attended the meeting and presented a rough draft of the park.

"In terms of location, the site is wonderful," Brown said. "It parallels your existing pedestrian bike path area, and it's right next to the existing parks and recreational facilities, and the key piece is that we have available parking, as well as being outside the hospital master plan."

Brown said there is a 500-year floodplain boundary, with a storm water ditch that runs on the eastern side, which parallels the existing bike path.

Initially, the hospital was wanting to reserve the property for parking expansion, Brown said, but he said they found that off-campus urgent care facilities were reducing their need for more parking and land expansion.

"This isn't a hard design yet," Brown said. "It's completely preliminary, but the idea is to keep the park separated to leave a large amount of dense forest between the park and the bike path, part of which is also to not get into the 500-year floodplain, which can bring up flooding and permitting issues."

The design is "just enough information," Brown said, to provide hospital officials an idea of what is being proposed.

"I'm flying at a hundred-thousand feet here," Brown said. "If we can get the committee to proceed, then we can come back with a better design for more input."

In order to facilitate success in negotiating a lease with Mission Hospital System, Fatland said the city would need to agree to pay for all leasehold improvements, provide insurance and maintain the property.

"We'd come back to this committee with a budget once the leasehold is approved, what the cost would be, and also we have a citizen group that has been raising money to help pay for some of the improvements as well," Fatland said.

Mary C. Jenkins Center

In addition, the committee unanimously voted to recommend at tonight's City Council meeting to proceed with the proposed plan to complete a new Mary C. Jenkins Community Center.

As previously reported in April, the Mary C. Jenkins Board Foundation offered to donate the property that houses the historic community center in Brevard to include in the Tannery Park project.

In a March City Council meeting, Mary C. Jenkins Board Chairman Randy Lytle requested the city provide a $25,000 grant to revitalize the community center.

After meeting with the board, Fatland said the board would donate the property in exchange for a new community center as an addition to the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) application for a grant that provides a financial match to parks and recreational projects in North Carolina.

"Though we did not get the grant, in rethinking this project and looking at the needs of the city and the community, my thought is, if we could look at the city taking over and making the project move forward by working with the Mary C. Jenkins board, the board follow through on the donation, but the city would design and take leadership in having it built," Fatland said. "I'd come back with a finance plan to help pay for it, such as a half-cent tax increase over 15 years that would cover a loan and make this facility a reality sooner rather than later."

Fatland's recommendations, accepted by the committee, as stated in his agenda item regarding the proposal to the committee, are as follows:

•Retain Harris Architects, which has previously done preliminary architectural work for the City of Brevard and the Mary C. Jenkins Board, to do preliminary and schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding, negotiation and construction phase services at a cost not to exceed $51,000.

•Authorize staff to work with the Mary C. Jenkins board to establish a city/Mary C. Jenkins Community Center task force to oversee the project from design to completion. The task force members would be submitted to the Brevard City Council at its January 2018 meeting.

•Authorize City Attorney Michael Pratt to work with the Mary C. Jenkins Board of Directors to facilitate the donation of the Mary C. Jenkins Community Center property to the City of Brevard, with a clear title being necessary for a loan application.

 
 

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