Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (Dec. 18, 2012): Actions related to two projects that have long been in the works – a new dog park and the city’s first skatepark – received recommendations of approval from Ann Arbor park advisory commissioners at their last meeting of 2012.
Commissioners recommended that a site at West Park – next to the park’s entrance off Chapin Street – be designated as the city’s third dog park. Their action came after several members of the New Hope Baptist Church spoke during public commentary to oppose the location, which would be directly across the street from the church. Congregants cited concerns over safety, noise, “dog stink” and other issues. One speaker suggested the possibility of swapping the location with the existing Project Grow gardens, located in West Park but farther away from the road.
In response to New Hope concerns, PAC amended its original resolution to specify that parks staff and PAC would meet with church members to discuss a possibly temporary dog park at that location, and to review the status of the dog park a year after it’s in place, with particular attention to noise levels. The new dog park would need approval from the city council before being installed.
In another vote, commissioners recommended approval of the final concept design for the Ann Arbor skatepark, to be built at the northwest corner of Veterans Memorial Park, near the intersection of North Maple and Dexter Avenue. They were briefed on the design features by Wally Hollyday, a well-known California skatepark designer who had come to town specifically for the presentation. He had been hired earlier this year to do the design and oversee the project’s construction.
Two residents who live near Veterans Memorial Park spoke against the location during public commentary, concerned about noise, maintenance, safety and other issues that they felt hadn’t been adequately addressed.
Trevor Staples, chair of the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, also spoke to PAC and noted that the group would be holding a retreat later this winter to discuss their future mission. He indicated the group would be involved in ongoing support for the skatepark. Part of the memorandum of intent with the city stipulates that 10% of fundraising for the skatepark is being set aside for future maintenance.
Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2013, with a goal of completing the project by the fall.
Also at the Dec. 18 meeting, commissioners recommended awarding a $109,500 contract to Renaissance Restorations Inc. to replace roofs at Cobblestone Farm on the event barn and on the Tincknor-Campbell House. They also got an update from Colin Smith, who reported that the city has withdrawn its application for a state permit to build a whitewater section in the Huron River, near Argo Cascades. City staff are working with the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality to come up with a different design that would address concerns raised about the environmental impact of the whitewater feature.
At the end of the meeting commissioners bid farewell to John Lawter, whose term ends on Dec. 31. Lawter has been instrumental in moving forward plans for a new centrally located dog park.