A “glitch” during the design of a proposed Union park and sports complex led park designers to plan for a park that was 4 acres larger than the land the city owns for the park.
However, planners with SWT Design, Inc., the firm contracted to draft the conceptual drawing, said only minor adjustments were made to the initial drawing.
Jim Woltermann, principal at SWT, noted that the city and the firm had been working off two maps when the design process began, and during the survey work, the plan submitted in 2010 was found to be inaccurate.
The city purchased 43.8 acres of land earmarked for a park off Progress Parkway south of Highway 50.
Woltermann added that during the reconfiguration process to “condense” the proposed park, SWT was able to make some adjustments that could be more suited to the area residents’ needs.
“Almost every element is still in place. It is missing the amphitheater, but through the master plan, that was a low priority,” said Woltermann.
The new park plan was presented during an east park development committee meeting Tuesday. Woltermann and Jay Wohlschlaeger presented the plan to Union residents, park advisory board members, city staff and aldermen.
“I think this is actually a much better plan in meeting the needs of citizens,” said Woltermann.
Residents will vote on Proposition Park June 5. There will be one polling place, Union Municipal Auditorium, for all wards. The proposition calls for a new one-half cent sales tax to fund the park. The tax would be reduced to a one-quarter cent sales tax after the bonds sold to fund the project mature, or after 20 years.
Wohlschlaeger explained that many of the amenities are in the same location, but some fields have been shifted due to the space constraints.
He said that two soccer fields and a football field will be in the same location as proposed in the initial plan, but will be facing a different direction, in part to accommodate the larger football field that was not included in the plan at first.
A large tournament sized baseball field was rotated to accommodate for changes in the overall plan.
Under the new plan, there are about 50 fewer parking spots, for a total of approximately 450 spaces. Those are broken down to smaller lots from fewer large lots.
Wohlschlaeger also pointed out a concession area near the center of the park that can be utilized by many park users.
“It becomes not just a central point to walk to the field, but also the trails will tie in there,” he said.
Planners have maintained the “balance” of active and passive recreation area, including a “loop trail” intertwined with smaller trails.
Marshlands and water sources would be utilized as a conservation area, or “passive” park. There also are picnic areas and shelters.
There also would be playgrounds, a maintenance shed, lakes or ponds, pavilions and other amenities.
“All of the components of the original plan are still here,” said Wohlschlaeger.
The perimeter walking track is planned to be one mile in length. There also are plans to install exercise equipment along the trail like the equipment at the main city park, said Park Director Kevin Arand.
Alderman Dustin Bailey pointed out plans for a “splash pad” which is a paved area with water jets that shoot up from the ground.
Wohlschlaeger said the splash pad would serve as a multiuse area. The water jets could be turned off and it could be a place for tournament registration and a staging area for activities.
East park development committee and park advisory board members Suzy Curnette said this conceptual design is a guide, not the final plan.
“This is not 100 percent set in stone,” she said. “It will probably be mostly this way, but when it passes we are going to have more meetings.”
Rost added that if the park sales tax is approved by voters, the park would not be built in stages.
“If the vote is to build it, I think we have an obligation get it built and open,” he said.