EDITORIAL: Parks show progress possible

Upcoming improvements to Fort Nuget Park prove that even in tough financial times progress is possible.

The city council last week approved spending upwards of $1 million to further improve facilities at the park off Fort Nugent Road. For all you “no new taxes” stalwarts, there’s no need to worry. The city’s general fund will be unaffected, with revenues coming from sources already in place, including park impact fees on new construction.

The park has been enormously popular since the first 20-acre half opened in the fall of 2000. It provides space for children and adults alike to play baseball, football and soccer. It’s also a popular place for runners and hikers using trails recently developed by volunteers.

There was an obvious need for the park, and there is clearly a huge demand out there for even more recreational opportunities.

Phase two of park development will meet many of those growing needs with new volleyball and basketball facilities, improved parking, restrooms, concession area and picnic shelter, among other possibilities. What can’t be finished in phase two will be carried over into the third and final phase.

An added attraction is that further development will be made with low impact criteria in mind, meaning more environmentally friendly elements such as bioswales and rain gardens instead of huge runoff ponds protected by chain link fences. The park will serve as a positive example to private developers.

With 20 acres belonging to the city and 20 provided through a lease with the school district, Fort Nugent Park has room to grow with the community.

The city has done an excellent job of providing more park facilities for the public with a limited amount of money. It’s good to see progress being made even when times are tough.

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