NORMAN — Money freed up by a city charter vote in 2011 is being used to upgrade and improve local parks. With Monroe Park nearing completion, upgrades are scheduled for Colonial Estates, Colonial Commons, Sunrise and Adkins Crossing parks.
Money collected by the city over the years in-lieu-of parkland dedications was freed up by the charter vote, which allowed the money to be used for improvements in cases where there is no more available land to purchase.
In-lieu money is paid by developers and funds are directed into the area where the development has occurred. In the case of Monroe Park, there was no land available for purchase and neighborhoods in that area were underserved. An agreement with Norman Public Schools to lease property adjacent to Monroe Elementary allowed for the development of that park.
Additional money from that area will go into upgrades at Adkins Crossing Park, 2136 24th Ave. SW. Park furniture and equipment will be repaired and replaced, and modern surfacing will be added under the swings. New soccer goals and parking improvements also will be made.
While other improvements are outlined in the Parks Master Plan adopted in 2009, Norman Parks Planner James Briggs said maintenance will have to come first.
The next area to be addressed involves some eastside parks.
Park equipment and furniture recently was upgraded at Sunrise Park, 3234 Skyline Drive, but the in-lieu fees will allow the city to add an ADA access ramp into the play area and other improvements, including a new back stop for the baseball diamond. Soccer goals will be added, and the soccer field will be laid over the top of the baseball field.
A walking surface will be put in, leading from nearby apartments with children to the park. The volleyball area also will be cleaned up and renovated.
At Colonial Commons, 1909 Beaumont Drive, trees, a new back stop and new park furnishings will give the area a facelift.
At Colonial Estates, 1641 E. Lindsey St., the upgrades will be more extensive. Colonial Estates is one of the city’s larger parks and is the location of splash pads and a popular disc golf course.
Bridges along the trails and along the disc golf course will be replaced. Briggs said five bridges will be replaced. Disc golf baskets also will be replaced. Local disc golfers had often donated baskets to replace those that were stolen or broken and had done other volunteer work, even building bridges to help keep up the park.
Now, disc golfers will enjoy better accommodations, which could open the possibility of tournaments.
Dead trees will be replaced and more will be planted. Also, the park’s trail system will be revamped. Asphalt trails will be overlaid and sidewalk trails will be repaired. Where there is a gap in the sidewalks, that will be filled in.
“A lot of trail work” will be done at Colonial Estates, Briggs said.
A kiosk is desired at the disc golf course, and Briggs said a local Boy Scout is hoping to work on that with the city as part of his Eagle Scout project.
Benches, trash cans and picnic tables also will be replaced throughout the park.
With funds freed up by the charter vote, this is just the first in a series of park improvements the city hopes to make in the future.