New park offers space for family fun

Sep. 06, 2013 @ 09:30 AM

City officials say they have a solid plan for the city’s next new park.
It’s been 15 years since the city opened a park. The new one, for now, is known as Westchester Park. 
The High Point Parks and Recreation Department has been planning since 2007 a $5 million park between Burton Avenue and Coventry Road.
The city has been accumulating land for a 60-acre site which would have an entrance on Burton Avenue, said Allen Oliver, department director. Most of the property is bordered by residences and businesses. Westchester Drive is the other major border.
“We have the plan,” Oliver said. “It’s all about the funding now.”
The city has held several planning workshops and the Site Solutions consulting firm of Charlotte provided a master plan that includes walking and biking trails. The southern portion of the property is flatter, which could allow for more active uses, such as sports fields. Suggested uses also include two small playgrounds a 5-acre dog park and a championship-size disc golf course.
“These would be all passive uses with low impact to the property,” Oliver said.
So far, most residents attending workshops have been supportive.
“You always get good and bad comments,” Oliver said. “Some worried that this could be a traffic problem on Coventry Road, but the entrance would be off Burton Avenue.”
City officials have not set aside funds to develop a park. They have talked about a future bond issue as a possible source of money.
“We think $5 million is enough for the whole park,” Oliver said, “about $3 million would go into infrastructure. So far, this has been a parks and recreation project. It still must get City Council approvals.”
The city has spent about $750,000 in bond money approved by voters in 2004 to acquire acreage between that includes old farm pastures and a barn. The site also borders a wooded tract off Westchester Drive that North State Communications donated to the city earlier this year.
Oliver has great hopes for the plan.
“In the last 15 years, we have improved and expanded parks, but not opened a new one,” Oliver said.

Westchester Park

Community: The last public input meeting on the Westchester Park plan will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Park and Recreation offices, 136 Northpoint Ave.