The Woodward News

April 11, 2013

Parks Board discusses new projects

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Woodward residents could potentially see 2 new improvements at Crystal Beach Park soon.

Members of the Woodward Parks and Beautification Board discussed 2 small, but significant improvement projects for the park during their regular meeting earlier this week.

The first is a proposed project to create a handicap accessible fishing pier at Crystal Beach Lake and the second is to relocate and redesign the park's miniature golf course.



A NEW BRIDGE/PIER

Mike Lowden, the city's director of facilities, said the plan for the new accessible fishing pier would involve replacing the old metal walking bridge on the west side of the lake.

In its place, Lowden said the city is proposing a new, wider flat bridge would be built.  At a proposed 12-feet to 14-feet across, he said the new bridge would be wide enough to provide room for persons to stop and fish from the bridge while leaving enough room for others to still cross the bridge.

But the project wouldn't just stop at replacing the bridge, Lowden said.  In order to help increase the fishing experience of those using that new bridge/pier, he said a "controlled fishing environment" would be created using a submerged net-like barrier below the bridge.

Lowden said that by fencing off the cove, which lays to the west of the bridge, it would help guarantee that those who go to fish in that area will get a bite.  

"Our goal is to keep the cove stocked year round," he said, noting that together with the barrier, it would help ensure "anybody can come out at any time and catch a fish and not go home empty-handed."

Parks Board member Ronnie Brittain said he was excited about this development.  Especially since he has held fishing seminars for children using the cove before and likes to take his own grandchildren fishing whenever he can.

"There's nothing like taking kids fishing and them not being able to catch anything," Brittain said.

"This will take care of that," Lowden promised.

However, the facilities said he still needs to speak with a biologist about a variety of factors before the city can actually create this controlled fishing environment.

For example, he said the biologist will need to look at how wide to make the holes in the barrier in order to allow bait fish to swim freely between the cove and larger lake as a whole, while still keeping larger fish separated.

In addition, Lowden said the biologist would have to take a close look at the different underwater environments offered in the cove area to determine "how many fish and what kind" would be placed in the controlled area.  "We have to keep a balance," he said.

Besides speaking with a biologist, Lowden said he also needs to meet with an engineer to discuss whether the current support structure is sufficient to ensure the new bridge would be structurally sound.

While excited about the opportunities that the proposed new bridge/pier would provide, some of the Parks Board members were concerned about what replacing the old metal bridge would mean for the historic rock piers that stand on both sides and both ends of the bridge.

"We would look at relocating those at the entrances of the bridge, so that we would keep that integrity," City Manager Alan Riffel said.



A NEW MINIATURE GOLF COURSE

No timeline was stated as to when the new bridge/pier might be placed at the park. However, Riffel said that the new miniature golf course could potentially be in place by this summer.

He told the Parks Board that a new mini golf facility was already included as part of the 20-year Crystal Beach Master Plan.  But he said the timing of the project could be moved forward, if the city were to take advantage of "an opportunity that has come to us (because) the contractor on the Boiling Springs Golf Course also has built miniature golf courses."

Riffel said he has spoken with Ron Matthews, the general contractor with Eagle View Golf about potential areas where the mini golf could go.

"Originally we were thinking of placing the new miniature golf course on the east side of the lake," the city manager said.  "But now we're looking at the same area near the old bridge on the south side of the park, south of the new toddler playground area, because it is one of the most under utilized areas in the park."

Placing the new course there would require the relocation of some swing sets and a picnic table, Riffel said.  But it would also better incorporate the mini golf facilities with the rest of the park and the trees in that area would help to provide shade for those playing on summer days, he said.

The city manager said Matthews and Eagle View Golf are already "coming up with some renderings for us" of the potential layout and look of the new course.

One benefit of potentially engaging Eagle View Golf to handle the relocation and redesign of the miniature golf course, Riffel said, is that "It would offer cost-effectiveness if they were to do it while they were already here."

In fact, he said that if city crews handle most of the site work, the project could be done "at a cost point that the city does not even have to bid it out."

And if the city acts quickly to move forward on the mini golf project, Riffel said Matthews "said they could get it done by July."

The parks board then voted to approve sending a recommendation to the Woodward City Commission that the city pursue going ahead with the miniature golf relocation and redesign.

"I think it's a fabulous idea," board member Polly Cruse said.  "Having a new and improved miniature golf course will help bring people out to play."

Board member Lester Neill also seemed excited about the project.

"It's something else new that's going on and being built in the park, like the new softball fields, and people are happy when that happens," Neill said.



SOFTBALL UPDATE, NEIGHBORHOOD INITIATIVE REMINDER

Following Neill's comment, Riffel provided the board with a brief update on the progress of the new softball complex.

"Things are running on schedule," he said, noting the big goal right now is "to get the grass in there before the end of summer so we have this fall growing season for it to grow in.  Then we can move forward with 5 new fields for next summer."

Also during Tuesday's meeting, Riffel reminded the board about the Woodward Neighborhood Initiative Program (WNIP), which is a code compliance assistance measure to help keep the city looking nice.

WNIP seeks to help those who receive warnings for tall grass or junky yards to clean up their properties.  The program is intended for those residents who have some sort of hardship, such as a disability, that prevents them from being able to care for their properties themselves.

If a person with hardship receives a warning from code enforcement about tall grass or junky yards, he or she may apply for assistance from the Neighborhood Initiative Program by submitting an application describing the hardship.  The Parks Board would then review the application and determine whether assistance should be granted, if so, volunteers would be contacted to help clear up the property until it was back within code compliance.

Riffel said he wanted to remind the Parks Board members about the initiative because they will likely soon be called upon to review WNIP applications, especially as "the grass gets to growing."

"We're moving into that time of year when there's more and more focus on that (property compliance issues)," he said.