Planning will wait for Farmington’s largest parkThe city of Farmington will hold off on planning its largest park, but that doesn’t mean the park will be built if the opportunity presents itself. At their Jan. 22 meeting, Farmington City Council members decided to wait on a master plan that would have combined three park areas under one large park development – the Jim Bell Park and Preserve.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
The city of Farmington will hold off on planning its largest park, but that doesn’t mean the park will be built if the opportunity presents itself.
At their Jan. 22 meeting, Farmington City Council members decided to wait on a master plan that would have combined three park areas under one large park development – the Jim Bell Park and Preserve. The move saved the city of Farmington $2,800.
Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad sought the overall master plan to make sure that when all three individual park areas are built out, there will not be any repetition of amenities. Council members felt the plan could wait three to five years, since little movement has been made in developing at least one of the park areas.
When it is eventually developed, the Jim Bell Park and Preserve will include the Autumn Glen, Fairhill and Meadow Creek parks. All three parks will fall within the 135 acres of the Jim Bell Park and Preserve area north of 195th Street, between Diamond Path and Embers Avenue.
The Meadow Creek park area has already been built out, and a master plan exists for the Fairhill park development. The Fairhill property is proposed as the site of an outdoor athletic complex and community center. No date has been set for the construction of Fairhill’s park.
The Autumn Glen area has not been planned yet, Distad said. Because the area is heavily wooded, the idea for that area is to expand the city’s trail system there, and possibly add a few more stormwater ponds.
“We will look at taking that piece and merging it with the other two, to do one master plan that defines the overall boundary of the Jim Bell Park and Preserve,” Distad said.
The decision to wait on an overall master plan does not necessarily set any of the construction behind. Most of Farmington’s parks already have master plans in place, and when time and funds allow, additions are made to parks based off of those master plans. For instance, a new pavilion and parking lot added to Lake Julia Park last summer were included in that park’s master plan.
The Fairhill plan is part of a future development that includes housing, some commercial, and the athletic complex and community center. When that development moves ahead, construction of the athletic complex could theoretically start, Distad said, because a master plan is already in place to guide the land use and amenities for that park.
“The reason we do master plans is to gather community input,” Distad said. “The parks plans reflect what the community wants.”
Council members asked Distad to wait three to five years on developing the overall master plan. Because no movement is expected on a large chunk of the Jim Bell Park and Preserve land, the city is planning to lease some of the land for agricultural purposes. That lease will be for five years.