Loy Blake Park Extension Project
A Brief History of the Area
In 1996, West Point City and the Davis School District entered into an agreement for the use of the City property located directly behind West Point Elementary School. The purpose of the agreement was to create a nature park out of the flat, vacant property. A very nice nature park was created and was used by the school over the years. However, due to unforeseen liability concerns, the area was fenced off and the gates were locked. Over time, the area became overgrown with Russian Olive trees, weeds, phragmites, and some over-protective geese. What was once a nice outdoor classroom became an overgrown eyesore that budgets could no longer support.
In 2015, with the nature park in disarray, discussions began between the School and City Officials. The School District recognized that the area was too large for them to maintain and the small budget allotted for maintenance was just not sufficient. The School District asked if they could give the care and responsibility of the property back to the City and terminate the agreement. City Officials were reluctant to take over the property in the condition it was in, and so agreed to this plan only after the park was returned to a usable condition. The City’s budget could not support revitalizing this area without assistance, and the long-term maintenance of a nature park was a big concern. During the Spring of 2015, work began to transform the neglected nature park into something available and usable to all residents. The Russian Olive trees were cleared out, geese were relocated by professionals, and weeds were grubbed out.
The Development of the Expansion Plan
On May 5, 2015, the City held a public open house to discuss the future of the property. The City presented a few different options and asked for public input. We had several residents attend the open house and submit comments and drawings for the Council to consider. We appreciate all who took time to share their thoughts, comments, and opinions with the City during that time, and the City Council has reviewed all of the comments and drawings that were submitted. In the end, the decision was made that the road at 520 North needs to be connected. This will help significantly with the safety issues of school children by providing another access out of the school pick-up/drop-off area. The School District has also indicated their willingness to participate in the construction of a parking lot, as they recognize the parking issues at the school and are willing to help alleviate those problems. Taking all of this into consideration, the City Council has determined to move forward with the plan below.
Phase 1 - Summer 2016*
End of March - Contractor to fill in ponds and begin grading the west two-thirds of the property
Beginning of April - Utility work will begin on the road connection through the dirt parking lot area
Beginning of May - Construction will begin on the road
Middle to end of June - Construction and paving of road is expected to be complete
Late summer or fall - Construction and paving of the south parking lot
*We plan to have the roadwork completed by the end of June. However, as can happen with any project, once we start digging we may find things that will slow the project down. Keep in mind this timeline is subject to change at any time.
Park Expansion Plan
Below is an image of the park expansion plan behind West Point Elementary. For a larger image of the plan click the link to the left under "Resources."
Brief explanation of the plan
1. Road Connection: The City Council feels strongly that this road connection needs to occur. The plan has always been to have this road connected, hence the stubbed roads on either end of the property. We feel now is the time for this to happen. We have an aggressive time line for completing this connection - the City Council would like it finished before our Independence Day celebration. Additionally, this connection is vital to solving some very serious safety concerns at the elementary school.
2. South Parking Lot: As has been mentioned, this parking lot will serve a dual purpose. It will provide much needed parking for our City park as well as for West Point Elementary School. Anyone who has ever attended a Back to School Night, D.A.R.E. Graduation, or any other school event, knows that parking is a huge problem at this school. The Davis School District has expressed interested in helping with this parking lot from a financial perspective. The parking lot has been designed with angled parking to help direct the flow of traffic in and out in order to alleviate congestion during busy times.
3. Open Field: While the map shows this as a soccer field, this open field can be used for any number of recreational activities. The design shows berms on both sides of the field for better seating for spectators. With our recreation programs growing, this is an important facility for the City.
4. Walking Trail: The west side of the property shows a walking trail that connects the sidewalk to the north with the school's walking path to the south. It is anticipated that a similar trail will also run along the east side of the property.
5. Splash Park and Restroom Facility: The City Council would like to install a small splash park with different water features in the flat area on the east side of the property. The design and details of the splash park and restroom have not yet been determined, but it will also include a restroom facility.
6. East Side: The Council has not spent much time discussing the details of the east side of the property, other than including a splash park and restroom. There are currently several mature trees and berms on that side, that we want to potentially leave in place. As mentioned, a walking trail along this side is anticipated and some picnic benches could also be considered.
7. North Parking Lot: As you can see on the map, a parking lot is being proposed on the north side of the road as well. The timing for constructing this parking lot and the size of the lot have not yet been determined.