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December 30, 2008 4:16 am

Centennial Park committee selects design components

Written by Tribune Staff

Centennial Park is beginning to take shape with key elements, including a sledding hill and miniature golf course.

Members of the park's planning committee recently sifted through five designs proposed by Peaks to Plains Design and chose a preliminary layout they believe will suit Powell best.

The committee decided to keep the miniature golf course, playground, skate park, picnic areas and sledding hill with the possibility of an outdoor amphitheater and a large open-grass field. They nixed the Frisbee golf course and dog park.

“We made some good steps, and I like what I see from (the design) group,” said Mayor Scott Mangold.

Peaks to Plains Design of Billings, the firm hired to design the park, presented five preliminary concept designs for the west-end park and asked the committee to weed out dispensable elements and keep those that the community really cares about.

Peaks to Plains landscape architect Jolene Rieck presented feedback from last month's community meeting, where the public shared their ideas for the 10-acre park.

“A playground is highly desirable,” Rieck said. “The skate park came up, and the sledding hill was a very popular idea … the sledding hill was a big hit with adults and kids alike.”

The sledding hill has a height of 20 feet in the proposed design.

Committee members agreed that the hill could be used throughout the year for other activities, such as water sliding or biking.

“My kids always take their bikes over to Homesteader (Park) in the summer,” said Shawn Warner, the committee chair. “They ride up and down the hill.”

The committee also discussed carving out a side of the sledding hill to include an outdoor amphitheater.

A dog park was considered, but the space and fencing required for it didn't work well with the design, the committee decided.

The purpose of a dog park is to “unleash your dog and let it run free and socialize with other dogs,” Rieck said.

“They recommend almost 5 acres for dog parks because they become so popular,” Rieck said.

However, that would mean fencing off a significant portion of the park — something the committee would rather not do. The committee favors an unenclosed design with the elements of the park — the playground, miniature golf course, skate park, sledding hill — being open rather than fenced off.

“When you have everything fenced off, it makes it feel much more exclusive,” said City Councilman Josh Shorb.
Newcomers to the park may not know what they have access to or what's available, he said.

“How important is it to have a dog park here?” asked Warner.

City Parks Superintendent Chuck Hewitt suggested that if residents want a dog park, the city could create one at a different site in Powell rather than at Centennial Park.

“If there's an alternative to having a dog park, let's consider that so it doesn't take up as much space,” Mangold said.

The committee favored “Preliminary Concept E,” which includes a trail circling the park and a large open space.

“It's a good idea to have a large chunk of ground open for football or soccer games or whatever,” Shorb said.

Shorb also opted for keeping a parking lot in the interior of the park to provide a place for teenagers to congregate.

“It's important to keep the parking lot,” he said. “Hopefully it brings them out of Blair's lot.”

Committee members agreed that the parking lot should be visible from the road so policemen driving by can easily monitor its activity.

Now that the committee has selected key elements for the park and moved forward with a design concept, Rieck said the next step is to determine the cost.

“We'll get some cost estimates for you,” she said.

Shorb said he wants to begin securing money for the park from grants and other sources.

Shea Reel, who came up short in campaign for the Powell City Council last fall, said the Tony Hawk Foundation donates money to skate park projects.

“We need to start identifying those (funding) sources now,” Shorb said.

The committee plans to meet with Peaks to Plains and Inberg-Miller Associates, the engineering firm working on the park, next month.