The first phase of Greenville’s new proposed park on the west side could cost $10.9 million while the road work and bridges for the park could cost an additional $7.9 million, according to the Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm hired by the city.
The park and the area surrounding it the city expects to develop is roughly the size of Greenville’s entire downtown, said Darren Meyer, principal of the urban design and landscape architecture firm MKSK, at a City Council work session on Monday.
“Phasing is a critical aspect,” he said. “The driving consideration is what will provide the greatest community benefit in the first phase.”
The first phase could include the Welborn Street area of the park that would include the great lawn, a “sprayground,” basketball courts and picnic areas. Welborn Street would be transformed into a pedestrian promenade, Meyer said.
First phase roadwork would include extending Mulberry Street to connect it to Mayberry Street, giving the park a connection to Stone Avenue. That would require building a bridge over the railroad tracks near Willard. Roadwork on the east side of the park would include improvements to part of Hudson Street to “create a front door to the park,” Meyer said.
Demolishing the current public works facility once a new complex is built on Fairforest Way could be the second phase of the project and could begin in fall 2017, Meyer said. He said the public works site could be prepped so the space is usable and redeveloped within the park as money becomes available. Demolition could cost $3.5 million, Meyer said.
“We could do the first phase with hospitality money if the Council chooses to do that, just like we did for Falls Park,” Mayor Knox White, a staunch proponent of the park, said.
Four funding sources could be used to pay for park work, including public program funding such as brownfield, park development, transportation and land and water grants; public discretionary funding such as city, county and state funds; private donor funding from foundations, corporations and individuals; and private in-kind funding from utilities and businesses.
Meyer said the city owns 52 parcels in and around the proposed park site, 26 acres of which is developable because it is outside of the floodplain. “That’s a funding source for the park itself,” he said.
Meyer told the council that work on the river would begin immediately. That work will take a while because of permitting and funding schedules, he said. The city could potentially get millions of dollars in mitigation credits from the Reedy River work. Mitigation banking is a system of credits and debits devised to ensure that ecological loss, especially to wetlands and streams, is compensated for by the preservation and restoration of wetlands and streams in other areas so that there is no let loss to the environment.
Park amenities include:
- A great lawn
- The Gathering Hall Stage
- Mayberry Field
- A destination playground
- A garden walk and community gardens
- A new pedestrian bridge over the Reedy River
- Picnic Pavilions
- An adult fitness area and climbing wall
- A “sprayground” water feature
The park project includes restoration of the Reedy River. The waterway has steep banks and a reduced natural floodplain which causes floodwaters to rise quickly, threatening bank stability. MKSK proposes to expand the active floodplain by excavating a bankfull bench. The plan preserves significant trees and uses vegetation to reduce erosion and to filter sediment. The plan creates accessible view sheds of natural bedrock features and integrates a pedestrian trail system into the expanded flood zone.