The Havelock Board of Commissioners is expected to vote Monday on whether to go forward with a grant proposal that could mean a new city recreation area on Lewis Farm Road near Carolina Pines.
City staff and commissioners have been looking at the issue since November, and we give them credit for not rushing into the decision. They have looked at the details of the proposal and have listened to residents as well as those who live and run businesses in the area of the proposed park.
In this day and age, everyone is looking to get something for nothing, or practically nothing. With that said, the park proposal appears to be a good deal for the city.
Havelock would get about 47 acres on which to create recreation fields for football, soccer, lacrosse and other activities for about $75,000, thanks to a state parks and recreation grant for about $500,000.
If the city can get that much property for $75,000 to satisfy the need for additional recreation space without raising taxes on residents, the proposal makes sense.
However, the city would be remiss if the concerns raised by Lewis Farm Road and other nearby residents were not addressed. The biggest of these is traffic.
Area residents are concerned increases in the number of vehicles traveling down the rural road hurts their way of life and could hurt the business of horse stables in the area. After all, riders enjoy the solitude that the area’s horse trails provide, and increased traffic as well as the yells and screams of children and fans could disrupt that.
The first step is that the city must request from the state a reduction of the 45 mph speed limit on Lewis Farm Road. That simply makes sense. The road has some curves that could pose problems for drivers and horses alike.
We also think strict hours must be enforced at the park. Residents on the road should not be subject to heavy traffic at night.
We think the city recreation staff needs to work with the owners of the horse stables to coordinate schedules. Should there be a show or big event at the stables on a Saturday, the city should decide not to use the park on that day. Officials of the youth leagues that would use the space also should be understanding of the needs of those horse stable owners during these particular times.
With such assurances to the nearby property owners as well as assurances to city residents that property taxes will not increase because of the new recreation area, the plan can go forward.
Though there are no guarantees the city will receive the state grant needed for the project, we believe the city would be wise to at least apply for it. The park would help solve the problem of much-needed recreation space at a comparatively small price. It’s time to play ball.