On Monday, a small group of local residents gathered at Matt Community Park for a town hall meeting on proposed improvements that may soon be in the works for Eagle’s Beak Park in northwest Forsyth.
At the meeting, residents were able to voice their opinion of what uses should or shouldn’t be added to the park and heard from the project’s lead consultant Mark Bond of Hayes, James and Associates, and District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills on what uses the park can support.
According to Mills, because Eagle’s Beak is a passive park, there are only certain activities, like nature trails and boat launches, which it can be used for. All improvements to the park will need to be tailored to fit that.
“It’s got challenges,” Mills said. “Because it was bought with passive money, it has to be a passive park, so you’ve got to do things that make sense within that. Right now, all you can use it for is to launch canoes and passive trails.”
Bond said in addition to limitations of a passive park, much of Eagle’s Beaks acreage is in a flood plain from the Etowah River, which surrounds the park. He said that flooding would have to be taken into account when planning the park’s uses.
He told residents that they suggest adding new pavilions to the park, along with a playground, a community garden, an outdoor classroom and space for a seasonal farmers market.
Suggestions from residents included adding things like splash pads, river walk trails, additional boat launches or a permanent amphitheater for the annual River Rock Fest.
One man stated that if another boat launch was added near the entrance of the park, the space would be an ideal spot for people to go tubing down the river.
“If you had another take out there, then people could come there with an inner tube, drop in the river and float down to get out right there, never leaving the park,” he said. “How much fun would that be for the kids, kind of like you do in Helen.”
Mills said after the meeting that Hayes, James and Associates will now work with the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department to create a more concrete plan, which they will bring back to the community for more input.
Once a master plan for the park is created and a budget is drawn up, the plan will make its way to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners for approval.