SEBASTIAN – The plan had been to improve the walking path and install low-level lights at Easy Street Park, but the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee has added one more project – a pavilion.
A small, square pavilion that once stood near the corner of Oak and Lake streets at the park is expected to be replaced. The cost, however, was not immediately known.
As it is, the improvements to Easy Street Park are estimated to cost about $48,000, which will be funded through recreational impact fees.
Impact fees are assessed on new construction to help offset the impact the new businesses or residents would have on the community.
The Sebastian City Council approved the conceptual improvements last week, including proposed lighting. The council will have to sign off on the contract for the work to be complete and is expected to take public comment at that time.
“The people are excited again,” Sebastian resident Jim Sunnycalb said of the planned improvements to Easy Street Park.
He added that, for the last few years, residents have thought the park’s path would be fixed up but nothing had happened.
“The parks are a big asset for Sebastian,” Sunnycalb said, adding that the economy has led more people to take advantage of the parks.
City Manager Al Minner told the committee this week that the city might have to have an engineering plan done to assess stormwater impacts from the new walking trail at the park.
Though the city plans to follow the existing footprint, the trail will be modified to better accommodate the roots of the trees.
Committee member Scott Simpson asked if it would be possible to make the trail longer so as to make it easier for walkers and joggers keep track of the distance they have traveled.
Simpson said that adding about 12 feet, the path would then be four-tenths of a mile – making five laps equal two miles.
Public Works Supervisor Linda Kinchen said that it was doubtful the city could make the trail an even half-mile.
Earlier this year, the Parks and Recreation Committee picked out a couple options for the lighting around the path. One option is for lighting to be recessed within the path, the other is to have short lights about 18 inches tall.
“You all have some good taste,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Chris McCarthy told the committee, explaining that the cost estimates he’s received on the lights are coming in higher than anticipated.
Minner told the committee that so long as the lighting cost estimates don’t top $25,000, the city won’t have to bid out the work. He explained that if the city were to have to bid the work, the project would take longer to get started.
If no bid is needed, the city could get started on the improvements by late April, he said.
“We’re off and running on that project,” Minner said.
When the proposal for Easy Street Park’s improvements went before the Sebastian City Council last week, Councilwoman Andrea Coy voiced concern about residents parking under a large oak tree, upsetting the tree’s roots.
Coy asked that something be done to keep people from parking there and suggested, instead, they park near where the old pavilion once stood, at Oak and Lake streets.
Minner told the parks committee that the city could put parking bumpers there and a sign notifying drivers of the availability of parking in that location.
As for keeping park-goers from parking under the oak, No Parking signs could be posted.
“We’ll just have to police it,” Minner told the committee.