COLUMBIA — Porta Potties, pools and dog-washing stations were just a few of the ideas discussed at Thursday night's informal meeting for the Twin Lakes Recreation Area.
Seven park users attended the meeting. Some were interested in dog park improvements, better walkways and year-round bathrooms, while a couple suggested using the $250,000 budget to invest in a public pool.
“The goal for us is to hammer out what we want the park to look like,” park services manager Michael Griggs said. “We don’t want to rush into it. We want to make sure we get a good master plan laid out, so we know how it’s going to look in the future.”
The city has budgeted $250,000 for Twin Lakes Recreation Area improvements over the next two years, including $100,000 in the 2012 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, and $150,000 in 2013.
Michelle DeHaven, a dog park user, said she takes her three dogs to Twin Lakes almost every day, and she typically sees as many as 50 dogs on the weekend.
"I'm here to help secure the dog park," DeHaven said. "It's the best dog park in town."
DeHaven has attended previous meetings to discuss improvements and has advocated for a concrete walkway wrapping from the parking lot around the park.
“Even people in wheelchairs who have walkers aren’t able to walk through the park the way it is now," DeHaven said. “With a walkway, people who are handicapped could come to the park and sit at a picnic bench or shelter and enjoy watching their dogs run around the park.”
Another possible addition is a Porta Potty to accommodate winter park-goers, Griggs said.
He said also the pirate-themed swim area, Little Mates Cove, is in need of renovations. The area will most likely be taken out and redone by making it larger and adding a sprayground, a playground fountain for children.
Besides replacing plumbing and repaving sidewalks, the budget will allow for the park to become a better attraction, park users hope.
Cindy Sheltmire said she would like to make the park more appealing to adults by adding a public pool or water park area that adults could enjoy.
Griggs said parks managers intend to use the suggestions from meetings to form two plans they can give to the Parks and Recreation Commission. The commission will identify the pros and cons of each option.
“We will let them endorse one of those options, and then they will go to City Council to get it approved,” Griggs said.