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Picnic tables, disc golf desired; baseball fields, not so much.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — What is it with disc golf?
More than 550 people responded to a town survey asking what they’d like to see done with the last 43 acres of the 117-acre Joyner Park.
And, while a sizable minority said to leave it as is, more wanted more amenities including disc (Frisbee) golf, tennis courts, educational resources, gardens, pond enhancements (fishing) and picnic facilities.
That’s what Wake Forest Recreation Advisory Board chair Jeff Sank told town commissioners during a work session Tuesday.
“Overwhelmingly, people actually strongly disagreed that nothing should happen there,” he said, referring to a survey question asking just that.
Those that did reject expansion want the town to be ecologically responsible, Sank said, adding, “They go there for peace and tranquility.”
There has been a lot of talk over the past few years that the park, located on Harris Road, should be left pristine. Indeed, planners say, the pecan grove and greenway trails out there now will remain. It’s only the undeveloped part that will change.
But many have said that any expansion to include long-planned ballfields will bring noise and light pollution with them. That was reflected in the survey, even amongst people favoring adding more amenities, according to Sank.
“Athletic fields — people don’t want to see them,” he said.
But the town’s need for additional fields are high as the population nears 36,000, he added.
Additionally, a community center (planned for the northwest end of the existing parking lot) would greatly enhance the town’s ability to provide basketball and volleyball courts, Sank continued.
Though people aren’t opposed outright to a community center, he said, ”the concern is we’ll have this huge structure out there.”
Many expressed support for the amphitheater cover for Six Sundays in Spring performances in the center of the park.
But a question about spray-grounds left folks confused. Sank said there needs to be more education about what they are (water spouts or sprinklers that kids can run through, jump in or sit under on warm days).
Town leaders have said they want spraygrounds in the parks.
One of the largest concerns is the traffic ballfields and basketball courts might generate.
“We certainly don’t have even remotely enough parking for what’s currently going on in Joyner Park,” Sank pointed out.
Commissioners didn’t make any decisions about the future of the park Tuesday.
The larger elements, such as a community center, the ballfields and the bandshell, will likely be part of a list of bond issue projects that commissioners are putting to voters in the fall.
To see the survey and the 2005 Joyner Park master plan, see tiny.cc/picturejoyner.
To read more about the $25 million bond n the Nov. 4 ballot, see tiny.cc/14wfbond.