Village OKs Plan for Tufts Memorial Park
The Pinehurst Village Council has approved a timeline and plan for the Tufts Memorial Park project that could be completed as soon as this fall.
The council unanimously approved the plan during its work session Tuesday night. Mayor Nancy Roy Fiorillo was absent from the meeting.
The project is expected to cost $250,000 and does not include the complete relocation and resurfacing of the downtown sand parking lot.
The Tufts Memorial Park project likely would open up the area around Tufts Rock, which is the center of Pinehurst and located on the Greeen between the sand lot and the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives.
The project will impact parking in the sandlot, taking 55 parking spaces. The village hopes to mitigate that loss by leasing between 15 and 25 parking spaces behind the Holly Inn and behind the Maples Building, which is located behind the old post office building.
“Loss of parking spaces without a timeline for deciding how to replace and add more spaces would be difficult for business owners, downtown property owners and the community at large to accept,” assistant village manager Jeff Batton wrote in a memo to the council. “Staff feels that if Tufts Memorial Park moves forward, an announcement regarding a specific deadline on when a decision is going to be made regarding adding parking spaces needs to also be made.
“Short of that we feel the park project will meet with resistance, not because of the merits of the park, but due to parking impacts.”
Council member John Cashion called the issue a Catch-22.
“Waiting isn’t good in the long term,” he said. “If we don’t get started, we will never get through. I think we are going to have parking problems until the whole thing is finished.”
Council member Mark Parson said now is as good a time as any to absorb the disruption in parking, saying he’d rather see it done when the buildings downtown are less populated with businesses.
Since the project is no longer paired with the complete relocation and improvement to the sandlot, Batton told the council that there will be some redesign work to the transition area between the lot and the village green to create another entry/exit to the lot.
The project will also entail some tree removal and replacement, Batton said.
Concerns were raised about drainage in the area, and how parking in front of the library would be affected.
Before the project can be bid — projected for June —the transition area from the park to the sandlot must be redesigned and a sedimentation/erosion control permit must be obtained from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Also during the meeting, the council approved issuing a request for qualifications for a historic consultant. The consultant likely would work to document historical properties in the village, offer input on current and future projects and work as a liaison between the village and the National Park Service, which oversees the village’s Historic Landmark designation.
The village opted against paying consultants more than $100,000 to create a cultural landscape report that had been requested by the National Park Service. Parks officials are concerned about how possible projects affecting the Village Green could impact the landmark status.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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