COLUMBIA — The possible elimination of a 4.5-acre lake from the proposed master plan for the 89.5-acre Bonnie View Park, also known as the Russell property, will be one of the major issues discussed as the Parks and Recreation Department reopens the public planning process for the park.
Three new options for a proposed master plan will be presented at a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Activity and Recreation Center, 1701 W. Ash St.
You can get a firsthand look at the three options for Bonnie View Park here. Scroll down to item "B "under the "Reports" section of the City Council agenda.
The public planning process for the property on the city’s west side began in 2003 but was delayed because of controversy surrounding the extension of Cunningham Road, which would have passed through parts of the park. That extension was removed from the city's Major Roadway Plan at a November 2008 City Council meeting.
Because the three original options for the park were created in 2003, development in the city has made it necessary to update the plan. The extension of Rollins Road, for instance, was only "proposed" in 2003. That extension has since been built, but its alignment is different and its elevation is lower than the planners originally anticipated. That created the need to re-evaluate the plans for a lake that was to be built near the road.
Two of the new options do not include the proposed lake. A third option includes the lake but reduces its size to 3.7 acres. Option 1 includes the lake and is essentially the same as the 2003 Option A, which both the Planning and Zoning and Parks and Recreations commissions recommend for adoption.
City park planners are working with Public Works Department engineers to determine whether the lake is practical. If it's not, other stormwater control methods such as a stormwater detention basin, rain gardens or bioswales, will probably be proposed.
Frank Kimbel, who lives on Bray Avenue, wants the park to have a lake, even if it’s smaller than originally planned.
"I figure it could be a good place for kids to go fishing,” Kimbel said.
Not everyone shares Kimbel’s enthusiasm. Harry Barnard, also a resident of Bray Avenue, opposes the park altogether.
"It would be devastating to our community," Barnard said, "because now it's a barrier between us and the continued spread of our suburban areas. … I think it needs to remain an undeveloped green area."
Traffic control is another primary concern. Option 2 would move a planned entrance from Fairview Road to Malibu Court, which would allow for a future four-way stop. The road would bisect the park's tennis courts and new restroom. In Option 3, the road would continue and connect to Plymouth Drive, which is just west of Fairview Elementary School.
After the public planning process is complete, the Parks and Recreation Department intends to bring a proposed master plan to the City Council in early 2010. If the plan is approved, the department anticipates beginning phase I of development in 2010. The city has $300,000 in parks sales tax money for development.