At a recent work session, Forsyth County commissioners approved an $800,000 change order with Lose Design for work related to projects at the future Lanierland Park and approved a new master site plan for the planned Denmark Park.
The plans for Lanierland include new tennis courts, walking trails and will be the new site of a Miracle League field. The work is expected to cost about $16 million.
Much of Tuesday's discussion on Lanierland focused on the financial aspects of the project.
“What we're wanting a board decision on today is whether we're moving forward with the $13 million scope or the $16 million scope but recognizing we're going to have to revisit filling in the funding for this project because if we start this year, we will certainly need the balance of another year,” said County Manager Eric Johnson.
County Chief Financial Officer Dave
Gruen said $11 million of the project had already been mostly funded. The remainder could be approved in a future budget.
Commissioners and county leaders had already raised issues that impact fees, fees paid by developers for the increased use of amenities, were lagging behind projections before the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“I'm just very, very concerned overall about us being able to purchase new parks and be able to pay for all of this later on because we just don't what the revenue streams are going to hold u going into the future,” said District 2 Commissioner Dennis Brown. I don't think it's the time to be expanding significantly. I would offer up a parks and rec bond.”
District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, who represents the area, said the county had planned a $2 million land purchase near Coal Mountain Park that was not going ahead and those funds might be able to go toward the project.
Mills said the county could make decisions down the road whether to remove plans from the project, such as the tennis courts, which add an additional $3 million to the project.
The relocation of the Miracle League Field will also be not be needed until construction of the planned Coal Mountain Connector roadway, which will go in the location of the current field.
The Lanierland item was approved unanimously and on a time-sensitive basis.
For Denmark Park, the park is proposed with two entrances – one with a signalized intersection on Mullinax Road across from the high school and another with a roundabout on Windy Hill Road – and will include a multi-court complex, the historic Dr. Denmark clinic (the namesake of the park and nearby Denmark High School), a passive picnic area, a large shelter pavilion, a multi-sport field complex, a dog park and more than two miles of trails.
“Interesting as it is, there are not a lot of things here that do not duplicated Fowler Park,” said District 3 Commissioner Todd Leventof the two parks located about a mile away from each other.
The multi-court complex, located on the west side of the park, will include 10 outdoor pickleball courts and three half-courts for basketball and a covered multi-sport pavilion with eight pickleball or four half-court basketball along with restrooms.
For the multi-sport field complex, on the eastern side of the park, four synthetic turf rectangular fields will be built with two 400-foot-diameter cricket court fields between each cluster of two fields.
Officials said the fields could potentially be used for flying drones and RC planes.
Parks and Recreation Director Jim Pryor said with the county's issues funding parks, Denmark could potentially be built out in phases.
The park will also include shelters, natural areas, two sand volleyball courts, playgrounds, an event plaza with a seasonal interactive fountain and more than 500 parking spaces scattered throughout.
In March 2018, Forsyth County Commissioners approved the purchase of about 57 acres at 500 Windy Hill Drive for $5.9 million from Kay W. Veal and 23 acres on Mullinax Road for about $2.4 million from Mullinax Road, LLC and Jay Land.