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Monday June 27th

Latest plan presented for Carrboro's Martin Luther King Jr. Park

<p>Plans for the Martin Luther King Jr. Park were presented to the Carrboro Recreation and Park Commission and the public at a meeting Monday.</p>
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Plans for the Martin Luther King Jr. Park were presented to the Carrboro Recreation and Park Commission and the public at a meeting Monday.

The Town of Carrboro's Recreation and Parks Commission met Monday night to review the new development plans for Martin Luther King Jr. Park, located at 1120 Hillsborough Road. 

The developmental meeting for the park featured a presentation led by Jennifer Wagner, land planning and design project manager of Stewart Inc., an engineering firm working with the town to design the park. The presentation outlined the new master plan and included the major elements and the layout of the park. 

The park will include an expansion of the garden, a natural playground, an amphitheater, a cycling area for children, a path around the entirety of the park, exercise stations for adults, pollinator gardens and possibly green roofs. 

The park is currently being used primarily for its open space, which is used often for kids' pickup baseball games and for stargazing at night. 

Jacquelyn Gist, Carrboro Board of Aldermen member and liaison to the commission, commented on what the town is looking for out of the park. 

“We’re not looking for an urban park," Gist said. "We’re really not."

Both Wagner and Natalie Carmen, civil engineering intern for Stewart Inc., brought up how the development of the land is to be as low-impact as possible. Carmen said the materials for the path and parking lot will ideally be permeable to sustain that mission. 

Stewart Inc. has been working with the town of Carrboro since January, although there have been discussions and tentative plans made for the park for more than 10 years. 

The plan presented at Monday's meeting is only the 30 percent schematic plan, and Stewart Inc. is open to suggestions from residents. Plans were debated by residents who attended the meeting. 

William Norcross, a Carrboro resident who lives near the park, said he attended the original planning meeting. 

“We would love to maintain the natural feel of the park there while having activities primarily for our kids to go and enjoy and have a safe place where they can go and ride bikes,” he said. 

One of the larger issues of concern for Norcross and other residents at the meeting is the potential amount of pavement used while the park is developed, because it could go against the mission of keeping the park low-impact.   

“I don’t love the idea of any sort of pavement concrete,” Norcross said. “I understand some is going to be necessary of course.”

There are to be four more development meetings led by Stewart for the 60, 90 and 100 percent schematic plans. 

The timeline for a finished design is tentative, according to the commission, but their goal is May 2017.



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