Park improvements estimated at $2.2 million
The City of Merritt expects to decide by the end of fall about how to proceed with improvements to Central and Voght Parks.
The plan was drafted by Kamloops engineering and architecture firm Stantec last spring, after a group of park users, including members of soccer teams, rugby teams and baseball teams, identified the parks’ needs in 2011.
After city council reviewed the plan, it went to an open house last month. Now it’s back with city council, which must take into account the feedback from the open house before it decides the next move in the improvement project.
“It was an all-encompassing group that took part in this,” Larry Plotnikoff, the city’s Leisure Services manager, said. “The neat thing about this group was that they were interested in protecting their turf, but they recognized and supported the needs of other park users.”
Plotnikoff said the group identified a single washroom and concession building as a primary need in Central Park, as well as a lacrosse box. The washroom and concession building is estimated at about $290,000, while the lacrosse box is pegged around $240,000. The plan also includes a multi-use field, which is estimated to cost $1.1 million. About $520,000 of that is allotted for irrigation.
“It’s the way with playing fields that they have to be properly maintained to be safe, and watering is one of those things,” Stantec Principal Architect Brian Christianson said. “Certainly there are irrigation systems now that take into account rainfall, and those kinds of things can be added to irrigation systems to make them more sustainable. The nice thing about this plan is it offers the city a menu of options that they can choose to go ahead with as they can afford them, and look at it as a long-term development plan.”
Plotnikoff said a general concern he heard from the open house was the cost of some elements of the plan.
“You always have to weigh out the costs with how to best proceed in building so it’s not a huge burden on the local taxpayer,” Plotnikoff said.
The plan also includes lighting for softball pitches at Central Park and a 400-metre oval running track at Voght Park.
Council hasn’t set a date to discuss the plan, yet, but Plotnikoff expects the vote by the end of the fall.