A group has formed with the purpose of discussing what should happen with Recreation Park when the Kent County Youth Fair (KCYF) moves to their new location on Cascade Road. There are two upcoming opportunities for the public to provide input – Lowell Expo and a special open house style gathering in April. Public input will be put into a Recreation Park Design Plan.
Changes at Recreation Park
The land has been designated park space in the city, where the Flat River and Grand River meet, for more than 80 years. Recreation Park has been used for a variety of uses in past decades, most with an outdoor or recreation theme. The 30 acre park is often referred to as “the fairgrounds” due to one of the well-known uses for the property.
The KCYF is not scheduled to leave the property for a few more years, however the City is being proactive in what to do with the space once it becomes available so that it does not sit unused after the fair leaves. The property will remain a designated park, but more of it will be more readily available for public use.
A steering committee consisting of City staff, council members, community leaders, interested residents, and stakeholders has met two times to begin discussion on what to do with the land at Recreation Park once the fair vacates the premises. Williams & Works’ Andy Moore is facilitating the meetings and leading the public participation process, taking direction from the City. “The committee is working with us to develop the outreach materials, review designs that we create based on results of that outreach, and will eventually recommend a preferred design to City council for their approval.” he says of the process. Moore serves as a city planner with Williams & Works and in addition to this role he works regularly with the City’s Planning Commission.
The Design Plan will be created through educating the community on the need and options to repurpose, in part, Recreation Park. Input from those who vested in the park’s use is seen as a valuable contribution.
Opportunity at the Lowell Community Expo
The first opportunity for the public to provide obtain information, provide input, and ask questions of the committee will be this Saturday at the Lowell Community Expo. Visitors to the City of Lowell Parks booth #148 in the cafeteria will be able to see information about the project. A map will be available to fill out during Expo or take home so members of the public can create their own design. The map can be returned to City Hall or mailed to Williams & Works (an address will be on the back and no postage will be required).
The Lowell Community Expo will take place at Lowell High School from 9am-3pm.
City to Host Design Day
On Wednesday, April 17 two Design Day sessions will take place in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall. The first will run from 2pm-4pm and the second will take place from 5pm-7pm. Members of the public are invited to drop in during either of the blocks of time to talk with City staff, professionals, and others in the community. Participants will be able to manipulate pieces on a drawing of the property to show where they might place buildings, stages, bathrooms, and other objects or areas for specific use which could be incorporated into the space.
Using the Plan
“This Plan will be a vision rooted in the opinions and perspectives of the people who live, work, and play in Lowell, and will provide a conceptual guide for the future development of Recreation Park.” according to information received by Williams & Works. Now is the time to help the City of Lowell with the future development of Recreation Park. Depending upon input received during Expo and the Design Day, other opportunities may become available.