Sep 262014

By Tammy Gray

Holbrook will soon have several new recreational opportunities, including a splash park, disc golf and walking trail.

City council members gave unanimous approval to the splash park concept, authorizing City Manager Ray Alley to begin demolition work on the site, solicit bids for infrastructure and develop a site plan.

Alley explained that he hopes to have the base infrastructure, such as the storage tank and equipment building, in place this winter. He will return to the council for approval of the site plan and selection of the play features.

“It’s going to be a lot of work. There’s no doubt it’s going to take a lot of work, but it will be worth it,” he said.

Alley described a splash park as a “glorified sprinkler system,” noting that it is zero-depth, with no standing water, and has features and toys that allow children to get sprayed and splashed. Once complete, the park will be open during warm months and close during the winter. Alley told the council that he anticipates it will be open four to five months of the year.

The splash park will be located on the empty lot behind city hall, the former site of the city pool.

Mayor Jeff Hill noted that all of the residents he spoke with supported the idea of the park, but several questioned the location. Hill asked why the splash pads are not being built at Hunt Park.

Alley explained that there are several reasons for the choice, including locating a park on the west side of Navajo Blvd. within walking distance of much of the downtown area, easy access to water lines and utilities, revitalizing an empty lot, following the master plan of infilling empty spaces and easy oversight of the park by city staff.

“It’s something within walking distance on this side of town and it will clean up an eyesore,” Alley said.

Councilman Myron Maxwell noted that he believed the location was appropriate.

“I think this is a wonderful idea. This area is not being used anyway,” he said. “We can become a city of parks.”

Alley told the council that if city staff members do as much of the work as possible, the park will cost about $72,000 to complete and will be larger than the park he is familiar with in Queen Creek.

In addition to the splash park, Finance Manager Randy Sullivan advised the council that he has been researching disc golf and has found that for about $3,100 the city can install disc baskets at the golf course, converting the facility into a dual-purpose course.

He told the council that fees for using the course would remain the same, whether the user chose to play golf or disc golf. He also noted that the baskets would be placed away from the greens so that the new course would not interfere with standard golf play.

Council members did not take any action since the item was only on the agenda as a report, but the idea received an unofficial blessing and Sullivan noted that he plans to order the baskets.

City Clerk Cher Millage explained that the purchase cost was less than the $5,000 threshold for city council approval.

Alley also reported to the council that he met with Councilman Bobby Tyler and city staff member Tim Kelly to investigate the possibility of a walking trail park. The trail would be located under the Highway 77 bridge that spans the Little Colorado River. Alley noted that there are several paths and small roads already, and it will take a minimal amount of work to clear and smooth them to serve as walking paths.

“It will only take a few days and we will get to it as soon as we have the time,” he said.

Alley told the council that eventually he hopes to place millings on the walking path, but that will have to wait until he has some available.

In other action Sept. 23, the council:

* Approved an ordinance establishing a public right of way and utility easement for a road leading into the new Navajo County public works building.

* Approved renewal of an agreement with Loni Hatch for the use of the city’s old community building as a dance studio.

The next regular council meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at city hall.