Members of the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee discussed Hagood Park during their meeting Tuesday morning.
“We’re trying to revitalize Hagood Park,” said City Administrator Fox Simons.
Committee Chairman Councilman Brian Garrison agreed.
“Hagood Park has been long neglected,” he said.
Parks and Recreation Director Gregg Powell said Hagood was once one of the city’s most popular parks.
Last year’s budget included playground replacement at Pope Field, Simpson and Hagood Park, said City Administrator Fox Simons.
“Those are all in,” he said.
The city has been considering creating a dog park at the J.B. “Red” Owens Complex, but some think Hagood Park may be bettered suited for a dog park.
Parking for dog owners could be a problem on weekends at the Owens complex, committee members said.
There were also concerns about having dogs so close to tournaments and the complex’s picnic shelter.
One challenge to creating a dog park at Hagood is providing shade for animals and owners alike, Simons said.
“We would have to explore putting one of those shade canopies there to help with the animals, because they’re just sitting out there in the sun,” he said.
Some shade canopies have benches for dog owners, said Tournament Coordinator Scott Price.
The dog park could be separated into areas for large dogs and small dogs.
Councilwoman Kim Valentin said the city should consider planting trees around the dog park.
The city is also looking at refinishing the park’s basketball court and adding some gravel parking, two sand volleyball courts and horseshoe pits.
Pitching horseshoes is a popular activity, Simons said.
“It’s recreation, it’s inexpensive,” he said. “We’ve got the room.”
The city can undertake the parking project itself, Simons said.
Simons said next year’s budget could include a new picnic shelter
In other city park news, the city is still planning to install a batting cage facility at the J.B. “Red” Owens Recreation Complex.
The city’s 2011-2012 budget calls for such a facility to be built at the complex using hospitality funds.
During his budget presentation earlier this year, Simons said that the facility would include 7-8 batting cages, 7-8 soft toss stations and an infield practice area for children age 6-18, all contained under one roof.
During Tuesday committee’s meeting, Simons said the city should have figures on the cost of the batting cages next week, and that those figures could be impacted by the rising price of steel.
The city has allocated $275,000 for the project. The batting cage facility would be the city’s 2011-2012 Parks and Recreation Master Plan project for the year.
Bagwell asked the committee if there was any project members felt needed to come before the batting cages.
Bagwell suggested the committee consider installing fans at the J.B. “Red” Owens Complex to help visitors beat the heat.
“It’s terribly hot,” Bagwell said. “Are batting cages more important than another aspect?”
The city could consider installing shade cells.
“I know that the batting cages are going to be big bucks,” Bagwell said. “I don’t know how much shade protection will be.”
“It’s not cheap,” Simons said, adding that the city had looked into them previously.
“The problem we have with the Big League World Series is those bleachers,” he said, adding shade cells could be installed over the complex’s permanent seating, but that the cells foundations would be where the temporary seating for the series are placed.
“You could put them far enough back to reach everything but then the people in the press box couldn’t see the field,” Simons said.
Bagwell said the city should explore coming to an agreement with the school district to acquire the upper deck seating of Brice Field for use at the complex.
Mann agreed that the press box could impact installing shade cells at the complex, as views could be obstructed.
He said teams took advantage of the city’s existing batting cages at Pope Field during the Big League World Series.
“But are we servicing a few (with batting cages) where shade would service many more?”
Garrison said he favored focusing on the batting cage facility.
“I don’t disagree that we need shade, but my personal opinion is the batting cages are a priority, not just because of the Big League World Series,” he said. “I think they’ll be used with our increase in tournament play. I think it’s going to save our fields wear and tear.”
Powell said the city has existing drawings regarding moving the press box and installing a permanent grandstand.
“That might be more expensive than (providing shade cells) but there is a drawing if you want to look at it,” he said.
The rec committee will meet again in 4-6 weeks, Simons said.