The Woodward News

July 10, 2013

Crystal Beach update topic at parks board

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Members of the Woodward Parks and Beautification Board are excited about the ongoing changes at Crystal Beach Park.

Parks Board members received updates on the new miniature golf course, a new bridge/fishing pier for the southwest side of Crystal Beach Lake, and the new softball complex during their quarterly meeting Tuesday morning.

City Manager Alan Riffel began with the update on the new miniature golf course, which is being built on the west side of the lake, south of the toddler playground area.

"All the holes have been poured," Riffel said.

The next steps include covering the putting areas with artificial turf and completing the landscaping around the course by laying in mulch, he said.  Workers will also have to complete lighting installation which will make it possible to allow night play on the course.

However, Riffel said it will likely be a few more weeks before the new mini golf course can be opened for play because of a delay in receiving fencing for the perimeter of the course.

"We're looking legitimately at the end of August for opening," he said.  "And the fence is the hold up on that.  We're having to wait to get it in and installed before the course can be completed."

However, the city manager seemed to think the new mini golf course will be worth the wait.

"It's going to be really neat," he said, explaining that it will incorporate "a new style of play."

Instead of the traditional mini golf experience, where players must try to putt the ball off of or around different obstacles in order to reach the hole, Riffel said the new course is designed to offer more subtle putting challenges that are similar to those faced on a real golf course, such as hills and slopes and curves.

Parks Board member Ronnie Brittain said he recently viewed progress on the course and had spoken with others who have seen it as well.

"Everybody's impressed with the way it's looking," Brittain said.

Doug Mohler, with the construction contractor Eagle View Golf, who was working at the site on Tuesday, also said he has heard positive reaction from the community.

"I have not heard one negative comment about the project and I've been working here for what, almost 6 weeks, and have had hundreds of people come up to me to talk about it," Mohler said, noting, "they all seem pretty excited about it."


In discussion about other activity at Crystal Beach Park, Mike Lowden, the city's director of facilities, gave a brief update about plans for a new accessible fishing pier to replace the old metal walking bridge on the southwest side of the lake.

Lowden said he is working with a building contractor who has done work on bridges "all over the U.S."  He said the contractor is in the process of "putting together some options for us to consider" about what type of substructure the new bridge/fishing pier should have.

Because the proposed new bridge/pier will be much wider than the current metal bridge, Lowden said that either "we'd have to find a way to shorten the span or find a different way to support it with a new substructure."  The current bridge is supported with a central post.

Lowden noted that a lot of other aspects about the new bridge/pier's construction, such as the type of beams used, will depend on the span of the new structure, which won't be determined for sure until a decision is made about the substructure.  Because of other construction activity, he indicated that the new pier could take a while.

"Between the miniature golf course and other projects at the park, there's a lot going on, but it's in the works," Lowden said of the pier.

One of the other major projects at Crystal Beach is the new softball complex.  While the softball fields were not listed as a discussion item on the Parks Board agenda, member Kathryn Upchurch asked Riffel for an update about a timeline on the project during the new business portion of Tuesday's meeting.

Upchurch was concerned about when play could return to Crystal Beach after having to spend this year's softball season playing games at Lions Park.

Riffel assured her  Parks Board that dirt work had already begun to prepare the site for the new fields, with sod to be placed soon so that it can have a good growing season in anticipation of opening the new softball complex for play next Spring.


In other business, the Parks Board members received a short update on the Neighborhood Initiative Program, which seeks to provide assistance to those residents who might need help in keeping their yards mowed.  The board was told that so far only one application has been submitted for the program.

The board also conducted a bit of annual business by selecting new board officers.

Ronnie Brittain was chosen to serve as board chairman, with Polly Cruse serving as vice-chair, and Kathryn Upchurch continuing as board secretary.

Also under new business, Riffel spoke to the board about the upcoming sales tax election on Aug. 13, which includes both a vote on a proposed new half-cent tax for a new fire station and 34th Street widening project, and a vote to extend the city's current capitol improvement (CI) half-cent tax for another 15 years.

The city manager said the election impacts the Parks Board because, of the funds generated by the CI sales tax, about $80,000 is dedicated each year to park improvements.