DOBSON — A special meeting for gathering additional public input into a proposed town park in Dobson has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at the town hall. The regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners will be held Thursday at 6 p.m.
Town Manager Josh Smith said this last public input meeting will be a “floating” reception where citizens may view conceptual drawings of elements of the proposed park and can fill out forms with suggestions and concerns about the project.
“What we hope to develop is an intimate, walk-through park that is family friendly and could be used for concerts or movie nights,” said Smith. “We want a facility which offers things not found elsewhere in Surry County. It’s going to have a lot of green space where children can run and play.”
“The town doesn’t want to duplicate what is happening elsewhere. We want it to be unique,” said Smith in an earlier interview. “Fisher River Park for instance has it’s own unique character and opportunities. We want to build a small municipal park that is walkable and is low maintenance. Our residents could easily get to this park and use it.”
Smith said the town is considering giving the park features such as a splash pad and water activity area. During a public forum at the board’s regular November meeting, Dobson Librarian Karen Roth spoke in support of a proposed town park in the downtown area.
At that meeting, Roth said the proposed location of the park, which is near the library, would benefit the library in making it more visible to the public as well as giving the library a place to hold events and programs, as it is limited in space within its existing facility.
Smith said the commissioners have retained an engineering firm and a grant has been submitted to seek funding for the project. Additional funding will be from private donations and Smith said the town has set aside some money for the park without raising taxes.
“We are thinking of the park in the long term,” said Smith. “This would be something we can take care of five years from now without burdening the town.” He said two parcels of land are being considered for the park. He said one parcel of land is a little-used parking lot and the other parcel contains a vacant house in a strictly commercial area that is also not being used.
Taking into account information from the public input session, the board could then consider adoption of the engineer’s master plan for the park. If passed, the plan would be part of the formal application by the town that will be submitted to the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PART F) commission for consideration.
In other action, the board is scheduled to hear a review of the town’s financial condition from finance Officer Laura Hill. Her report will probably include an overview of expenditures and revenues for the town.
The board could also consider a matching fund request from Fire Chief Ricky Draughn for the fiscal year 2013-2014. The regulations for this grant basically request the town commit to a 50/50 match of any grant monies received for supplies including turnout gear and radio before it adopts is budget. In previous years the amount of the grant has ranged from $10,00 -$20,000 before the town matches the amount.
The commissioners are expected to approve the annual certification of fire fighters by the North Carolina State Fireman’s Association. Smith said this action is routine because the department was established by town charter and amounts to the town certifying the department’s roster is accurate and all firefighters have met certification requirements.
The board could also make appointments to the town planning, ABC, Library and Recreation committees. Town Manager Josh Smith is also on the docket to present updates on grants for each town department. This presentation could include an overview of the PART F town park application process.
Smith could also brief commissioners on the status of an effort to transfer money for the Prison Camp Road sewer project to the water treatment plant to bring the town in compliance with state regulations for sludge. He could also update the board on a sewer extension to the Ridge Road area.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.