Council Moving Ahead With Village Green Improvements
Planned improvements to the Pinehurst Village Green are moving forward despite some reservations expressed by two council members about the size of the park.
Council member John Strickland was the most ardent opponent Tuesday to the size, saying that the park, proposed to sit on three-quarters of an acre in the Village Green, might be out of scale with the area.
“I am against the plan as it is now,” Strickland said. “I’m hoping it could be scaled back.”
The Village Council discussed the proposed Tufts Memorial Park and the accompanying parking lot improvements planned for the Village Green during a work session Tuesday morning. The plans will go before the Historic Preservation Commission at 10 a.m. Friday and before Planning and Zoning at 4 p.m. July 5.
The plans are available on the village of Pinehurst website.
In addition to questioning the size of the park, Strickland also raised his concern that the renovations to the sand parking lot would encroach on undisturbed portions of the Village Green.
He also voiced concerns about the safety issues surrounding proposed angled parking on Village Green West. He suggested that it would be difficult to access those spots for drivers coming south on Village Green West.
He said a scaled down version of the plan would also cost less money and would be more visually appealing.
Mayor Nancy Roy Fiorillo and council members Mark Parson and John Cashion supported the current plan, and worked to ease Strickland’s concerns.
“Once the library expands,” Fiorillo said, “I don’t think the park will look out of scale.”
Cashion said that a bigger park would mean a more family-friendly space within the village.
Parson said he trusts the opinions of the numerous architects, engineers and designers who have worked on designs for the proposed projects.
“What you are asking us,” he said to Strickland, “is to go with your opinion... These are licensed professionals. I have to trust them and I don’t see this as being out of scale.”
Council member Doug Lapins said he has, at times, been “super wishy-washy” on the issue in terms of size of the project.
Lapins said he always viewed the park as a more “passive” area.
“I worry that it becomes the latest performing spot,” Lapins said. “It’s a football field.”
He said he would have liked some options on sizes and possibly to have the designers come in and explain why the proposed plan is as large as it is. His larger concern was the location of handicapped parking, which would be along the street.
Residents Joyce Franke and Jack Farrell brought up concerns about the sidewalks and proposed plantings in the plan being contrary to the “softer, more natural” look characteristic of Frederick Law Olmsted, the original designer of the green.
“We can go forward with the basic concept and can tweak it in the future,” said Franke, who is also a member of the Village Historic Preservation Commission.
Resident Karen Kaplan agreed.
“Everybody has the best intent and wants this to be perfect,” she said. “Let’s go for it, if not, we are going to come back, again, and again and again.”
The council has requested a tight time frame to complete the work on improvements to the Village Green and the parking lot so that both projects are complete well before June 2014, when Pinehurst hosts the U.S. Open and Women’s Open championships.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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