Placement problematic, perhaps prohibitive.
I took a walk around Patriot’s Park today. Mainly walkers, joggers and dog walkers out. And me with my trusty cell phone camera and note pad. Art Jaros, much maligned PD board member, does not favor this site, so please keep this in mind. He does, however, share the siting information should PP be the place the PD board decides to move forward on.
Here’s what I found…
Click on any image for a larger version.
The east side parking lot.
This lot is currently sized for 36 cars and 2 handicaps spaces. the plan calls for expanding this parking lot so that it paves over the picnic area. This would total about 130 parking spaces, and maybe 8-12 handicap spaces.
To expand this parking lot as recommended by the Ramaker report, 37 trees, all picnic benches, grills and the pavilion would be removed. Some (a distinct minority) of those trees are ash trees that will die anyway.
This is where the 800 foot long access road crosses St. Joe’s Creek. This image is an icon of both DG and the Park District, and would be removed for a two lane access road. As you can tell, crossing this is not a minor effort, and would require extensive engineering and a substantial structure if the existing creek bank features are retained.
This is also a favored hangout for Mallards, the non rats that also live at Patriots Park.
The pathway that the access road would follow curves around behind Barth Pond, and it is a sloping hill from the DGS&RC fance to the waterline, dropping about 10 feet in elevation. that means the whole area will have to be leveled and prepped in order to put in a two lane road with parking on both sides. There is enough width there to do that, but not to save any of the trees. I counted 17 trees in the way that would have to be removed. The fence for the DGS&RC is about 30 feet behind the brush line. Given the slope leveling and the widths involved, most of the brush would be removed that hides each recreation area from the other.
All along this area I counted 17 trees in the way. The fantastic looking River Birches would all be spared, as they are all by the waters edge. The park benches would have to either be removed or relocated.
At the corner of the NW corner of the DGS&RC is where the access road curves south past the main facility site. Thankfully, the Thor Lightening Guard Alarm is unthreatened.
It worked perfectly this morning, remaining silent throughout my morning stroll.
The main facility is proposed to be sited, mere feet away from the lot line. As you can see, there are a few trees in the way. Nine of them averaged 18″-22″ DBH, making them possibly predate the park itself.
To be honest, I couldn’t get a clear count of trees in this area. Well over 35. The site plan looks like it might clear the manicured area with benches immediately to the right of the trees in this picture. There’s also a manicured area with benches just south of the current path around the pond that looks like it would stay untouched.
At the south end of where the building becomes a two story locker room/offices/meeting room affair, there is no fence marking the boundary of the DGS&RC, and not much screening once past the bushes, just some pine trees that may or may not stay. It looks like the building would dominate the skyline here.
This is the same view, but looking S from the edge of the growth. this would all be removed. Most of the trees here are Ash, with some maples.
Remember those 30+ trees being removed that started this all off? They wanted to open up the area, residents were told, among other reasoning. If they wanted to open up the area, why is it choked with weeds now?
So I hope that this walk made sense. You can print out a copy of the site plan image at the top of this post and take it over to Patriot’s Park and walk it yourself to see what is proposed.
After doing it myself, I can’t support anything like that going in here. It gives the vast majority of the park over to the purpose of providing access and parking for the water facility, and I can’t imagine that’s what the future held for this nature area. Maybe another gravel path back there, take out all the weeds that have sprung up, a couple benches, and plant some more trees.
There are an appreciable number of ashes at PP. I don’t know how that plays into the whole pool thing if at all, but several of them front 55th Street.
There’s two other growing problems at Patriot’s Park. One is the metal retaining wall. It’s corroded and worn away at the top, presenting a jagged ragged edge under the lip cap. Small legs- say kid sized- could get caught or cut under there. The PD might think about some sort of repair.
The other is the ever pooping hardly flying big rat gang that has taken over the park. there are proven ways to rid parks of these pests and their foul messes, and it would actually make the park a nicer place to boot. So where are the plantings that create a hostile area for Canadian Canada Geese and convince them to move on?