Slides and jungle gyms will be added to the west Dover park in the spring, while the city is examining how to fund additional upgrades, including a walking trail and additional parking.
How to turn a 6-acre parcel of mostly empty land into an active city park was the focus of a July 29 workshop in west Dover.
The Mallard Pond Park sits between a collection of apartments, condominiums and homes, including Brandywine Court, Fox Hall West and Heatherfield East.
Mostly unknown to anyone other than nearby residents, there are only three rusted fire grills on the property other than its namesake pond.
The park is targeted for a series of upgrades as part of Dover’s Parks and Playground Improvement Program, with $66,000 already budgeted for the installation of playground equipment.
About 20 area residents attended the workshop, during which adults looked over prospective plans while children drew colorful pictures of what they’d like to see at the park.
Ann Marie Townshend, the city’s director of planning and community development said the workshop allowed Dover officials to gather residents’ opinions on what they’d like to see at the property, but nothing definite has been decided.
Residents suggested landscaping areas with benches, a trail that would border the park and the addition of a baseball diamond. However, some who live nearby expressed concerns that more people using the park would mean more trash, noise and possible vandalism.
Additional lighting and parking also would have to be funded separately, since the city currently only has funds set aside for recreational improvements.
Comments taken at the workshop were to be presented to the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Enhancement Committee, which would consider them and pass along recommendations to Dover City Council.
Dover’s Parks and Recreation Department has been working to develop a proposal for two months.
“What we’ve done is worked with the city engineering staff to do a site layout for improvements to the park,” Townshend said. “My intention is to bring that proposal to the city council’s Parks, Recreation and Community Enhancement Committee at a meeting in November, possibly Nov. 10.”
Installation of slides and jungle gym-type equipment should begin in the spring, she added.
“Then we need to determine how to fund improvements other than the playground,” she said.
Those improvements will include a paved walking trail and a small amount of parking.
“One of the things we heard from those in the Brandywine Court condos is that people would be using their parking, so we’re looking at five or six parking spaces,” she said.
Townshend’s office has worked on similar projects in the past and has engaged West Recreation of Queenstown, Md., to work on a concept plan, she said. Part of that plan will ensure the walking path stays to the northern side of the park, away from the condos.
“It’s going to be large enough an area for the smaller kids, and then we’ll also have equipment for the older kid,” Townshend said. “We’ll be looking to serve kids up to age 12.”
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