Visions of picnics, park benches and horseshoe pits had the Star Valley Town Council bubbling with excitement Tuesday as it approved spending $40,000 to build its first public park.
Normally relishing the role of devil’s advocate, even Councilor George Binney brimmed with praise for the park plans. He went so far as to press for the option of creating a summer water feature and a winter sled run. He said a water feature would cost about $60,000, adding he knows of companies that can build and even operate them. He also suggested getting a snow-making machine.
“It’s a very good idea,” Binney said. Then addressing some of the individual features proposed, he added, “The aviary is not a big expense and I love the idea of a community garden. The fitness course is not a big-ticket item, but I’d delay the cabanas. The summer water feature is my favorite. It’s probably the most expensive item, but well worth it. A dog run is not a big priority.”
“I’m totally in bed with George on this,” said Councilor Vern Leis. “It should be part of our future and we’re not talking astronomical costs.”
Mayor Ronnie McDaniel and Councilor Gary Coon were more cautious. Coon reminded the council that the 5.5-acre property the town bought last fall has only about 1.5 acres of flat land.
“I don’t see all these picnic tables and park benches and the rest fitting in that space,” he said.
Councilor Barbara Hartwell suggested terracing could provide more usable space. Leis suggested creating contours for the picnic tables.
McDaniel advised moving slowly, starting with only a few things to see if residents and visitors would even use such a facility.
“I’d hate to see us spend all this money on a park and have nobody use it and us end up with egg on our face,” McDaniel said.
Coon also wants to go slow, although he said building a park might be better than letting the land just sit empty until the town grew enough to need more public facilities.
Town Manager Tim Grier said when the idea of a park was first mentioned, “I cringed.” He said research revealed the upkeep would run to about $11,000 a year.
He said building the first, bare-bones stage would cost about $27,000. That would include:
• 14 picnic tables, each seating eight; 10 park benches; five grills
• A fence and entrance gate
• A volleyball court; four horseshoe pits; and four scoreboards
• Water line installation
• Dog waste bag dispenser
• Water fountain
Council members raised questions about a gate and fencing, both to provide privacy and show the park boundaries — so people don’t wander into The Knolls and other private land. The gate would allow the town to close the park at night.
The council approved giving Grier $40,000 to start on Phase 1 of the Star Valley Town Park.
• The council approved moving forward from the conceptual drawings of improvements to the low water crossings on Moonlight Drive and Sprague Ranch Road.
• Grier was authorized to contract with W.C. Scoutten for the required engineering study to obtain a permit from the Arizona Department of Transportation to renew the photo enforcement contract.