Windy Ridge Park talks begin
Committee seeks public comment on land's future use
A master planning meeting Tuesday night was the second in a series of meetings determining the future of Windy Ridge Park in Mount Airy.
A presentation by JMT, a York, Pa.-based engineering firm, was given to a steering committee at town hall.
"The steering committee evaluates the overall situation and makes a recommendation," said Dave Pyatt, a member of the committee composed of Parks and Recreation Commission members, neighbors of the park, sports representatives, and a student chosen by town staff.
Representatives from the company, Andrew Mears and Jon Conner said they did not have all the information, but some of the details were coming in.
"These types of projects end up being multi phase projects," Mears said.
The park in discussion, Windy Ridge Park on the northwestern edge of town, is about 89 acres said Barney Quinn, town engineer.
Pictures displayed showed rolling fields dotted with power lines, a creek with some erosion, and the remnants of a hunter's stand and a paintball game. A panoramic view of farmland is interrupted by a picturesque church steeple.
Mears pointed out that although the view was good one way, the back side of the park was residential.
"If you look back here, it's basically suburbia," he said.
Mears assured the committee that the company was looking at the physical capability of the site.
"We're strictly looking at the site and seeing what can be done," he said. "But we need to hear from the public."
One resident asked about core drill and subsurface conditions of the land, and Conner said it had not been addressed yet in the stage they were in.
The presentation said there could be recommendations on active recreation areas: athletic fields, buildings, and parking, as well as passive recreation, such as picnic sites or walking areas.
BGE's policy for the power corridor through the property said that buildings were not permitted in the tower's corridor.
"The more earth you move the more it's going to cost and the more damage it does to the landscape," Mears said.
"Obviously it's a very challenging site," said Frank Illiano, part of the committee, who asked if it had been thought of to sell the site and buy a more flat piece of land.
Mears said that would be the result of the community process that the park planning would have to go through.
"Maybe people will say active recreation isn't the most important thing here," he said. "This is a community process."
Mears said the next step in the process is focus group meetings, where the company will provide ideas on what the site, and funds, can provide, but also ask for other's vision for the property.
"We're not designing it until we hear what people want to say," Mears said.
The next meeting for the park is Dec. 2. It was agreed by the crowd that 5 p.m., the committee will hear from the "sports crowd," at 6 p.m., neighbors of the park will be permitted to speak and by the general discussion would follow at 7 p.m.
Mears said there would be probably be advertising, flyers and other ways to get information out for those who would like to be involved.
"Communication is key," said Bob King, a committee member.