Little feedback at public hearing for Eastside Park

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, May 10, 2018

The City of LaGrange approved the master plan for Eastside Park following a public hearing on Tuesday.

The approval does not commit the city to completing the plan, but it does provide a framework for city staff to work within while considering projects — like landscaping or basketball court resurfacing — in the area. The city received little input during the public hearing on the plan, with the only requests being that swings be added and that the city staff clean up other city property in the area.

According to the Eastside Park master plan, the park will take advantage of two existing baseball fields and feature a hillside playground, a disc golf course, a field of wildflowers and picnic shelters. The plan also includes extensive landscaping to create a clear view of the entire park and beautify the area. The second segment of The Thread was recently added to the area.

“The main focus at the outset was beautification and thinking how to give the park an identity again, so we are looking a lot at landscaping and sprucing it up and defining the borders and the edges of it,” City Planner Leigh Threadgill said. “We do have a trail head facility that is at the corner of Daniel and Ware Street, and that area needs some attention as well. It isn’t technically part of Eastside Park, but we have included it for the master planning process because it is connected by trail to Eastside Park.”

Threadgill said that an area near the corner of Dix Street and Daniel Street where a bridge was previously located will also receive attention.

“There used to be a bridge across a creek that connected those two sides,” Threadgill said. “We thought through that and how to reconnect those two with a new bridge and also clearing some of the undergrowth and opening up that space so that there is a clear line of sight from one side of the park to the other.”

Threadgill said that creating a clear line of sight will make the park nicer to look at and improve safety by allowing police to monitor all parts of the park. She also said that she expects the renovations to the park to be completed in stages, with easier projects along the edges of the park to be completed first.

The planned improvements have been compared to work that was completed on Granger Park on numerous occasions, and Eastside Park is expected to benefit from both the experience gained from the other project and a cohesive plan.

“This is a planning process that started four or five months ago with a consultant that worked with us on imagining what the Eastside Park could become,” Threadgill said. “With the new trail construction — that was just recently opened — through Eastside Park, we wanted to think through the amenities that could go alongside that trail and bolster the park area in general.”

City staff hopes to attract more people to the park using those new amenities, and Troup County Parks and Recreation plans to begin scheduling activities in the area in the future. In addition to making the park a better investment, city officials have also commented in the past that having more people using a park space makes it easier to maintain.

“If there are not people there, it is not going to be well cared for,” Threadgill said. “The Parks and Recreation department has agreed to reprogram t-ball and youth [under] 8 baseball there, so that is something that we are excited about — the opportunity to bring folks there, to drive folks to that park.”

According to Troup County Parks and Recreation Director Cajen Rhodes, programmed activities in the park will likely begin after any necessary construction is completed near the ball fields.

The public hearing was advertised through a sign at one end of the park and through letters to residents of the area.