Hendersonville – Small neighborhood parks, picnic pavilions, park amphitheaters, more paved or unpaved trails, and shaded benches or mini-park gardens along trails or Main Street are among park priorities the city is considering and weighing public opinion on in an online survey. Multi-purpose athletic fields, playgrounds, a disc golf course, lawn bocci ball, and concrete-secured cornhole courts are among public space amenity options.
A critical online survey question is listing the three priorities for projects. The six choices are: improving existing parks and amenities, adding small neighborhood parks, putting parks first in “underserved” areas, adding parks near high-density work or residential areas, buying ten or more acres for large parks, and developing a downtown “destination” park. The survey is not limited to city residents.
The Hendersonville Parks and Greenspace Master Plan (PGMP) of 2011 is getting updated, with next summer its targeted timeline for adoption, city spokesperson Allison Justus said. A brief, ten-question online survey about it extends through December. Three in-person forums last week also assist the PGMP Advisory Board.
“The master plan will prioritize the Parks Division’s funding and resources, review staffing, and envision where and what types of parks, green spaces, and greenways will be needed in Hendersonville in the future,” Justus stated.
“Greenways are connections between parks, waterways, and neighborhoods,” Supt. of Public Works Mark Stierwalt said. He is also the PGP project director. Stierwalt and Public Works Director Tom Wooten were at two parks public input sessions in City Hall on Oct. 10.
‘Gen H’ Plan
Parks are part of the city’s much broader “Gen H” (Hendersonville) Comprehensive Plan on land use, which includes downtown parking. Gen H aims through 2045. Its in-depth survey is online through mid-November. A “Gen H Pop-Up” input station will be at Hendersonville High School’s Dietz Field during the football game on Oct. 27.
City Council members took turns leading Gen H “Comp-versation” input sessions. Jerry Smith, the Council’s specialist on parks, led one on parks on Oct. 9. That was Smith’s last Council action, before retiring after 14 years. Council will appoint someone to serve until the seat is up for two (not four) years in the November, 2024 general election, Justus noted.
The city’s main park is Patton Park, with its Olympic-sized outdoor pool and a skate park. Henderson County oversees huge Jackson Park, and is developing the Ecusta Rail Trail heading toward Brevard.
New Mini-Golf, Patton Courts
A city recreational jewel is the recently-constructed miniature golf course in Edwards Park. Its dedication is on Thursday, Oct. 19,at 4 p.m. That Laura E. Corn Mini Golf Course is at 904 N. Main St., by Five Points and HHS.
The 18-hole, ADA-accessible course replaces the old one in Boyd Park, adjacent to the main city fire station site on a North Main island. Boyd Park, which included two tennis courts, was razed to double space of the new firehouse under construction.
A $300,000, eight-court project is set for Patton Park, Wooten said. Its two tennis courts will be replaced by new ones with greater fenced-in space. There is room at that spot, above the 45-year-old pool, for one new tennis court and four pickleball courts. A new tennis court and two pickleball courts will go where racquetball and handball courts were demolished, Wooten further said. He noted that Patton Pool repair was delayed in favor of greenway spending.
DesignWorkshop (DW) of Raleigh is handling public park projects in Hendersonville, and Asheville where its input station in Carrier Park will be on Oct. 19. DW parks designer Jordan Metzler Metzler designed small neighborhood parks for Chattanooga, Tenn. – each within a ten-minute walk of residents.
DW project manager Brenna Laffey and Metzler guided Hendersonville hands-on input sessions on Oct. 10. Citizens wrote on sticky notes what they most enjoy about various parks and/or want improved. They put green dots beside images of city facilities they want more of, and red dots by ones they want less of.
Stickers indicated support of optional projects such as small event spaces, and a large downtown area “iconic destination” akin to Asheville’s multi-block Pack Square Park. Hendersonville’s Dogwood lot was considered for a public park, but remains parking.
With Downtown Hendersonville available space limited, small “pocket parks” can upgrade open spaces. Shaded benches provide strollers “respite” from hot sun, Metzler noted. Pocket parks include MLK Park at the bus stop near the main courthouse, and HonorAir Park at its south entrance.
Trail options include paving them for smoother bicycling and walking, which is costlier. Non-paved trails are cheaper to develop, but require maintenance.
Security Lights, 911 Call Poles
Holly Stokely Matruski, age 26, gave input on Oct. 10. She and her husband Mark live near Berkeley Mills Park. She said that they want to walk their feisty dog where it’s fairly “secluded” and relaxing, yet “well lit and safe.”
Security lighting and poles with 911 call buttons such as on the Oklawaha Trail are safety priorities for many trail users. If a mugger robs the victim’s cell phone, the victim can still call for help.
To do the online surveys, check https://publicinput.com/m3416 regarding Hendersonville parks, and https://publicinput.com/s0213 for the Gen H comprehensive plan.