Tom Joyce Staff Reporter
August 29, 2013
As Mount Airy officials have grappled with the design and costs for a mini-park in the heart of the city’s downtown section, plans have emerged for another park facility near Reeves Community Center.
The proposed “Cherry Street Park” would be situated between South Main and Renfro streets and make use of city-owned property at that location which has been vacant for years. One of its major components, on paper, is a new paved parking area with 67 spaces to serve visitors to the park and users of nearby Reeves Community Center, which suffers from a lack of such facilities.
Cherry Street Park is included in a long-range pedestrian plan released recently as a guide for Mount Airy’s long-range infrastructure needs. The majority of the plan prepared by Kimley-Horn and Associates deals with improvements to key intersections around town, such as crosswalks and signals, to make them easier to negotiate.
The new park was included as another alternative for making conditions safer at the community center, although it still would require crossing the often-busy South Renfro Street to reach RCC.
Along with the 67 vehicle spaces eyed for the northwest quadrant of the Cherry-Renfro intersection, plans call for Cherry Street Park to include a playground, what is described as an interactive water feature, a dog park, an arbor and granite block seating. Those amenities would be located at the corner of South Main and Cherry streets adjacent to the Municipal Building.
Nine additional on-street parking spaces could be provided along Cherry Street at that location, according to the plan.
The intent behind the proposed facility, according to the consulting firm, involves both increasing the RCC parking supply and providing “programmed open space in downtown Mount Airy.”
In order to improve pedestrian connectivity to Reeves Community Center, the park plan calls for improvements at Cherry and Renfro streets.
These would include installing high-visibility crosswalks there, pedestrian heads at the signalized intersection to allow walkers to cross and pedestrian refuge islands on Renfro Street.
No cost for Cherry Street Park is listed in the plan.
Meanwhile, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners is trying to finalize plans for a mini-park at the corner of North Main and West Oak streets uptown. It has a price tag of $135,300, but there is sentiment among board members for downsizing that.
Sept. 5 Public Hearing
The commissioners’ next meeting, at 7 p.m. on Sept. 5, will include the continuation of a public hearing from Aug. 15 on the overall long-range pedestrian plan, which is yet to be officially adopted as the city’s long-range blueprint.
In addition to pedestrian amenities at seven key intersections and other areas, and the concept for Cherry Street Park, it recommends 30 miles of new sidewalks and 13.3 miles of shared paths — totaling around $20 million.
While some citizens spoke on the plan on Aug. 15, officials decided to continue the public hearing to Sept. 5 because the plan been released to the public only three days before the August session.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.