MLA Group Led Small Stakeholder Meeting #2
November 4, 2015
MLA Group presented initial design concepts to a small group of Hanes Park stakeholders in preparation for a open public input session planned for December.
Those present at the meeting included representatives of The City of Winston-Salem; Winston-Salem Forsyth County School Administration; Wiley and R.J. Reynolds Principals; a Reynolds Baseball coach; West End, Buena Vista and Runnymede Neighborhood Associations; the YMCA; Running Clubs; Randy Pate Tennis; Home Field Advantage; and Friends of Hanes Park. After Scott Miller introduced the City of Winston-Salem staff members, everyone introduced themselves.
Scott Miller then reviewed the mission MLA Group has accepted – briefly to research and identify the repair, maintenance and renovation needs of Hanes Park; identify key issues; and develop a prioritized plan to address elements. He pointed out that MLA Group recognized from the beginning that this process would involve discovery of issues that might not have been predicted at the outset. Also reiterated, that their process would not be bound in scope by the funds currently available in order to make this effort “long-term sighted.” He also acknowledged the importance and value of this public asset, Hanes Park, that has attracted so many stakeholders such as ourselves into this process.
Scott Miller briefly reviewed the process completed to date running through a list of meetings held at various points with various groups including small stakeholder meetings; open presentation and input sessions; online surveys; and individual stakeholder meetings.
Scott Miller stated the goals of tonight’s meeting: to review the presentation “in progress” intended for a larger public input session in December. As such, their report/plans were presented via a computer screen rather that on prepared presentation boards so that any insights and input collected from tonight’s meeting might be able to be included in the presentation for the larger meeting without reservation. Hopes are that this meeting will provide a “leg up” to ensure success of the public input session. Large printed boards will be provided for the public input session so that all participants will have an opportunity to review details closely and allowed more time if desired.
The end goal is to produce and present a final Master Plan to The City of Winston-Salem. The City has the freedom to choose to adopt it or not.
All participants were asked to report back to our various groups and constituents so that further input might be collected, expectations set and participation in the process promoted in advance of the upcoming Public Input Session.
Just as in the initial MLA Public Input Session and in the Friends of Hanes Park Pedestrian Audit, Hanes Park has been divided into North, South, East, and West Quadrants for the purpose of an organized and manageable presentation. The issues identified were likewise organized into three main prioritized groupings:
- Needs Immediate Attention and or Repair for Safety and Security Reasons
- Needs Attention to Minimize Loss of an Important and/or Irreplaceable Asset
- Attention that would improve the park experience
Also included were inspiration images and/or existing examples of the type of repairs suggested.
PRESENTATION OF KEY ISSUES IDENTIFIED
- Repair or replace existing wall at main Park entry at the base of Clover St
- Repair or replace existing concrete stair
- Repair historic light fixtures
- Replace broken concrete paving
- Reinforce the historic Allée concept
- Add bollards around the playground
- Provide greater access (strollers, handicap) at key entries and restrict access to stop pedestrian spillage down hill off West End Blvd
- Renovate Intersection of Clover and West End Blvd to address safety concerns
- Remove and Relocate the Eastern-most bridge in this quadrant
- Renovate Main Central Bridge
- Clear sight lines and open up the creek for better view and play accessibility
- Address out-dated signage
- Paint bridges
- Add new entry stair at the end of Pilot View into the park
- Add stone benches, water fountains, trash receptacles
- Add landscaping features to main entrance
- Install an Iconic Hanes Park element to the main entrance
- Add a site map
- Add pedestrian lighting fixtures of an historically appropriate design and subtle up lighting
- Add bike racks
- Remove unsightly trash receptacle
- Limb up trees open selective view corridors
- Add understory plantings to wooded areas
- Conceal unsightly raised manholes
- Add an overlook shelter on North End to provide; shade structure, rallying point for road races, and/or platform for special events
- Add picnic areas in pastoral settings
- Expose cobble at curb cuts for attractive change of surface
- Convert Sunset Ave to a 1-Way Rd and allow 60° parking on Park Side of the street
- Add 2 additional staircases along Sunset Ave to provide safer access
- Add a stone and timber guard rail to protect hillside
- Add allée of trees to border raised path along creek
- Add stone benches
- Consolidate softball fields into one field, create open field for both programmed and unprogrammed play
- Resurface and redesign parking lot to increase number of parking spaces, add safety features in materials sensitive to and appropriate to historic area
- Add stone and grass seating into natural slope to create tennis spectator area on wooded bank
- Reacquisition of perimeter lands along Hawthorne near Wiley to The City
- Add stone and timber guardrail along sidewalk
- Repair small stone bridge
- Add a stone stair and entry from West Highlands near Overbrook Ave
- Add a pedestrian overlook area from perimeter at West Highlands
- Limit all vehicles into the park to security and maintenance vehicles ONLY
- Address access beneath Glade St – to include handicap and bike accessibility
- Operational support (Park administration personal such as an urban park ranger)
- Provide access to the tributary, perhaps develop a pond to provide an outdoor classroom
- Add understory plantings
- Again, restrict all vehicle access into the park to security and maintenance vehicles ONLY
- Provide a safe path for pedestrians around baseball field
- Repair track and provide maintenance
- Provide safer pedestrian crossings at Wiley and other key crossing points along Northwest Blvd.
- Redesign Northwest Blvd to separate bike and vehicle lanes
PRESENTATION OF INITIAL PLAN CONCEPTS
Two Plans were presented. Both addressed the issues identified with sensitive and inspired design solutions appropriate to this historic park that balanced the many needs and passions of various stakeholders. Both plans relocate the tennis courts and were basically identical except for the location and design of the tennis facility. This difference is briefly:
The current tennis facility remains as is, inside the track. The bathroom facilities are not able to be improved or expanded and remain “as is” as well.
The tennis facility would be relocated and redesigned as a multipurpose facility that could also provide expanded public restrooms, storage, concessions, elevated viewing areas, offices for park management, etc.
Running Club representatives pointed out that the Hanes Park track is currently the ONLY public track in Winston-Salem. They have a strong desire that it remain open and accessible to the public. The Ultimate Runner event has been an annual park event for the past 29 years and they are very much looking forward to their 30th.
The City of Winston-Salem representative reminded our group that other parks have received bond funding and are planning additions and improvements. Those plans do include additional public tracks at other park locations.
West End representatives questioned the rationale for developing a Master Plan that was so exhaustively inclusive of all improvements and thus prohibitively costly when there were no funds available to realize it.
Friends of Hanes Park representatives pointed out that with so many different neighborhoods, communities, clubs and institutions passionate about and highly invested in this common ground, who truly need improvements and desire to contribute – a Master Plan is essential to guide our efforts under a common vision. The existence of a Master Plan will make it possible for different groups to contribute separate fundraising efforts to improve areas that further their special interests without fear that their earnest and good intentions might negatively impact others.
West End representatives and Kristen Haaf, Friends of Hanes Park representative, asked that the core principles guiding designs be stated at the outset and continuously clarified for the upcoming Public Input Session. There seemed to be consensus that it should be stated, what are “those big ideas that unite everyone.”
The YMCA representatives noted the need for an emergency phone station so that those exercising during darker hours could call for assistance easily and without fear should they need it. They also noted their appreciation of various features of the plans.
Friends of Hanes Park representatives noted that a Friends group could coordinate fundraising efforts to raise additional/private funds to see pieces of the plan realized and have a particular desire to begin fundraising in preparation for Hanes Park’s Centennial.
WSFC Schools noted that they have identified safety concerns along Northwest Blvd and have included a proposal for safety improvements in their upcoming Bond request.
As always, MLA Group welcomed anyone with particular questions or concerns regarding the plans to contact them directly.