Friday, April 4, 2014
East Bay Park has been - and is expected to remain - a mainly “passive park” although continued improvements are expected in the next few years.
Although the East Bay Park property is within the Georgetown city limits, it is maintained by Georgetown County.
East Bay Park is not listed on the county’s Capital Improvements Plan because when the plan was being created in the late 1990s, Georgetown city leaders decided they did not want to pay the impact fees that were being levied against residents in the unincorporated areas of the county, according to County Public Information Officer Jackie Broach.
City Administrator Chris Carter told council he believes the immediate goal is to choose two or three improvements for the park area and focus on them using the city’s hospitality taxes to do the work in the immediate future. That’s because any improvements made by the county will not take place before 2017.
Council member Ed Kimbrough said the issue does not need any additional study.
“We have enough information,” he said.
Carter said about $200,000 is available in hospitality taxes that can be used on the park.
Mayor Jack Scoville has said on numerous occasions he would like to see a dog park somewhere on the property while other council members have expressed an interest in a walking trail.
“We need to adopt a plan and stick to it,” Scoville said.
Beth Goodale, head of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department, met with city council and said even though East Bay Park is not in the Capital Improvements Plan, changes to the plan can be made.
“Tennis is quite popular,” she said, suggesting six tennis courts scheduled to be created at 8 Oaks Park can be placed at East Bay Park instead. “It fits in the idea of a passive-type park.”
She said that work would take place in 2018.
Council member Peggy Wayne suggests the city use some of its hospitality taxes to improve the parking area across from the park’s recently-renovated boat landing.
Kimbrough agreed, saying creating better parking “is not glamorous” but the current parking situation in that area is dangerous.
Wayne also suggested turning the concession stand building across from the boat landing into some nice restrooms.
Jonathan Heald, the city’s public services director, will meet with Goodale and share ideas he has for the park.
His plans, received positively by most council members, call for not only the tennis courts, but also basketball, handball and volleyball courts, fields for baseball, soccer and football and a nature trail.
Goodale and Heald will come up with a plan that will be presented to city council for consideration at an upcoming meeting.
Scoville said anyone from the public who has ideas for the park are encouraged to share those by calling City Hall at 545-4000.