Martha Walker Park ImprovementsPublic Meeting #1 CommentsDATE: MAY 30, 2013LOCATION: CROSS TIMBERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, ARLINGTON, TXPUBLIC MEETING NOTESQUESTION/COMMENT RESPONSEWho requested that this park be developed? Did thiscome from an individual or a group?The department regularly analyzes our park service areas to ensure that we are providing parks andrecreation services equitably to all residents. While progress has been made in southwest Arlington,we still have a very large area that we are not meeting the needs of residents according to ouradopted standards. Martha Walker Park provides open space in one of our service gap areas, but norecreational amenities to serve residents. Without funding to acquire additional park land, this sitewill allow the City provide passive recreational opportunities in an effort to meet citizen needs. Thepark’s namesake, Martha Walker, also requested that we begin plans for developing the park.What happens if we don’t want to do any additional parkdevelopment to this property? I heard there’s been talkof selling the park?This property was purchased in 1986 to secure park land within the under-served southwestArlington area. The property is classified as a neighborhood park, meaning it is intended to serveresidents within a ½ mile radius service area. If we do not develop this park, we would need to sellthe property and use those funds to purchase other park property in the service area. Ourpreference is to develop the existing park.The rail fence should be extended the full length of thepark to prevent any vehicle access into the park.We will consider this in our project scope.Will there be any area or security lighting for the park? Parking lots are required to be lit by City ordinance. We can provide area lighting at the playground ifdesired. We will not light the trail—this gives people a false sense of security and encourages themto use the trail at night.People come into the park at night already. By addingimprovements, more people will be in the park afterhours.Like all neighborhood parks, the park is open from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. Anyone using the parkoutside of these hours should be reported to the Police.Is an automated gate to keep cars from going into theparking lot at night an option?It’s a very expensive option, but one we can consider in our project scope. An automated gate onlyprevents people from entering the park after hours; it does not force cars that entered before theclosing time to leave.Lack of sidewalks for access from Harris Road means thatchildren trying to get to the park will have to walk in theroad, but adding sidewalks could increase pedestriantraffic into the neighborhood which is undesirable.We will discuss the issue with the Public Works and Transportation Department, but currently, thereare no plans to add sidewalks along Sharon Lee Drive or the immediate Harris Road area. Ideally, wewould like to have safe and easy access for pedestrians, but this situation occurs at many parklocations in our system.
Martha Walker Park ImprovementsPublic Meeting #1 CommentsDATE: MAY 30, 2013LOCATION: CROSS TIMBERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, ARLINGTON, TXThere’s no access to the park from Turner Way. Unfortunately, providing passive amenities in Martha Walker Park does not solve all of the servicearea needs in southwest Arlington. We recognize the need for additional parks in and around TurnerWay, but direct access to this site does not seem feasible at this point. The lack of a street networkand numerous private properties between the park and Turner Way make it difficult for residents toaccess the site without driving off of Harris Road.Developing the park could lead to increased traffic, carsparking in the lot at night, or people using the ditches infront of homes as overflow parking.These are typical concerns any time we develop parks in residential neighborhoods. Most of thetime, once the park is developed, residents find that the benefit of the nearby park outweighs anyminor problems, if there are any at all. We can post signage to make parking along the road illegal.However, this will mean that no one can park there—not even residents or their guests.We want to keep the park natural! Can we include thingslike a monarch butterfly way station, wildflowers, andopportunities for wildlife/bird watching?These are great ideas, and we will consider them in the scope of our project.Can there be equestrian trails? Can there be acombination of concrete and natural trails? Perhaps theupper loop of trail can be natural trail, and the lowerloop can be concrete.We can include a combination of concrete and natural surface trails. The suggestion of making theupper loop natural and the lower loop concrete is a good one, and we will consider this in the scopeof our project. We will also consider equestrian trail areas, but the small-sized, neighborhood parksare not the best candidates for this type of activity. Larger pathways and parking areas would needto be evaluated to accommodate these activities.We don’t want a lot of people in our neighborhood. Howcan we discourage large, formal gatherings? We do notwant a pavilion.Based on the discussion at the public meeting, the pavilion will be removed from the conceptualplan. The park will be designed to encourage passive activity, such as using the trails and observingwildlife. Large groups are more likely to use one of the nearby community parks (i.e., SJ Stovall and FJRed Kane) that offer different and larger amenities.I’m excited about having a playground that’s withinwalking distance for my family. Is it possible to have thepoured-in-place rubber surfacing like I’ve seen at otherparks?Poured-in-place surfacing is incredibly expensive and therefore isn’t cost effective for a park likeMartha Walker. We would much rather use available funds to provide more and better playequipment. The engineered wood fiber we use in most of our parks is cost effective, easy for staff tomaintain, and meets all required safety regulations.I think it’s important to include dog waste stations forpeople to clean up after their pets.We can definitely include dog waste stations as a park amenity. Thank you for the suggestion!
Martha Walker Park ImprovementsPublic Meeting #1 CommentsDATE: MAY 30, 2013LOCATION: CROSS TIMBERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, ARLINGTON, TXCOMMENT CARDSCOMMENT FOLLOW-UP?Limited parking spaces, lighting for parking, clean up wooded area, no basketball or tennis courts, children’s playground, better roadmaintenance for increased park trafficNoThanks for your efforts! You are encouraged to continue! We are encouraged! -Would really love the trails and loops—great for walking, jogging, and dog walking. Also support the playground and picnic tables. -Keep the park as natural and beautiful as possible. Butterfly area would be great. Wildflowers. Small parking area. Trails. No pavilion or exerciseequipment (ugly!!!). Limited playground equipment.-As little development as possible! Concerns: traffic, parking, security, turn around in private drives. Use area for nature/wildlife. No baseballfields, no playgrounds, no soccer fields.-The comments above are taken directly from comment cards turned in by meeting attendees. Every effort has been made to correctly interpret illegiblehandwriting. Emphases are those of the comment writer.E-MAILED AND TELEPHONED COMMENTS:COMMENT FOLLOW-UP?Disabled citizen that lives near the park and received the mailer—curious about what we’re going to do in the park. Says that walking trailswould be great since there isn’t much other place to walk in the neighborhood (rural streets). Mentioned that UTA students used to come to thepark and stargaze. Is in support of playgrounds, practice fields, and a small parking lot.-“I got a postcard about the meeting on 5/30 about the Martha Walker Park. My biggest interest is will it be able to tie to other parks via awalkway? I enjoy walking and in my very small neighborhood it is kind of hazardous since there are no sidewalks. I don’t like to walk on TurnerWay or Calendar. We usually load up the dogs and go to the park on Eden road by the Golf Course. That park has a super walkway. Againwould be great if more parks were attached to each other. But whatever is done will be appreciated. Thanks.”-The comments above are the writer’s understanding of the various discussions held and conclusions reached.RECORDED BY: Briana Morrison, City of Arlington