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.