City Receives Input on Waters Edge Park Renovation
June 20, 2018 – City of Murphy held the first public outreach meeting at Waters Edge Park (601 Creekside Drive). The goal of the meeting was to gather input from the people who will use the park and new playground.
The 2017 general obligation bond election approved $850,000.00 for the renovation of this park. Tim Rogers, City of Murphy Public Services Director, informed that $769,698.00 of that bond is earmarked for construction.
During the public outreach meeting, staff presented an architectural rendering of a possible inclusive playground. This playground went beyond ADA code in that the surface would not be loose bark, but a rubber surface which would offer a wheelchair-friendly flat transition from the sidewalk, to the playground, onto the equipment. They also recommended adding another playground area. They would remove the existing playground equipment. There would be benches in the shade on the playground. They discussed adding picnic tables under the existing shade trees. Regardless of what shape the park takes, four ADA parking spots must be added. They also brought an interactive poster board to allow attendees to select their top three choices, or write in suggestions on how they would like to see the bond money used.
There was some confusion amongst the neighbors that the inclusive playground was the only option the city was proposing. Neighborhood attendees voiced concern that the inclusive playground would not be stimulating enough for non-handicapped children. Matt Foster, City of Murphy Parks Superintendent, explained that they just asked their park designer to design a park to be presented at the meeting. He said, “If this doesn’t work, we won’t do it.”
Discussion of building a restroom at the park was met with mostly negative reaction specifically regarding maintenance. This led to a few residents expressing that the maintenance of the park was “sub-par”. One resident said their neighbor had put ant killer at the park to keep the ants away. One resident said, “I find it almost humorous this park has been neglected for years, then the parks people came out in droves right before this meeting. Look at the fresh cuts on those trees.” In contrast, a resident said, “I’m a member of a moms club. We do community service work. We go to Murphy parks and clean them up. We came here and couldn’t find any trash.” Foster told the group that if they had any maintenance concerns to let him know.
Results of the recreational option survey taken by residents attending the meeting: open space/nature – 4, inclusive playground – 4, picnic area -0, disc golf – 0, park benches/seating – 1, pavilions – 0, sand volleyball court – 0, soccer fields – 0, restrooms – 5. Write in ideas: more trees – 4, irrigation/more grass, less weeds – 3, no bathroom – 12, playground options/redesign – 11, little free library – 4, swings – 12, fenced area for dogs/dog park – 3, BMX track – 3, lower monkey bars – 3 and connector trail to Betsy Rd. – 1.
Discussing the next steps for this project, Ken Lee, City of Murphy Project Manager said, “We’ll summarize/categorize all of the suggestions into a list and present it at the next Parks & Recreation Board meeting for discussion. The list of features selected will then begin to undergo a 30% conceptual design by our A/E (Architect/ Engineer) firm.”