Port St. Lucie starts planning new neighborhood park

Later this year, a patch of land near the corner of Southwest Edinburgh Drive and Southwest Calmar Avenue just off Becker Road in Port St. Lucie is scheduled for a makeover.

City officials have started efforts to plan and build the neighborhood park on the 13 acres just north of Becker Road and east of Rosser Boulevard. The features include a dog park, nature trails, natural buffer, open space play area, parking, pavilion with picnic tables, playground, restrooms and sidewalk connection to Becker Road.

The first of at least two resident meetings happened in April when about 30 people from that area attended the session at the Port St. Lucie Community Center on Southeast Airoso Boulevard to learn about the project, which is expected to start later this year. The second meeting will happen after the design-build firm is contracted, which is the next step in the process.

Money for the park, about $850,000, is set aside from the recycling revenues, which means the entire project will be paid for from materials that residents and business owners recycle, said Sarah Prohaska, spokeswoman for the city of Port St. Lucie

The city’s next step will be to solicit bids from qualified design-build firms. The City Council would then approve the proposal that best incorporates the vision for the site as a neighborhood park.

The park is intended as a neighborhood park versus a community park, a difference that the city distinguishes in an online video.

In that video, Brad Keen, the assistant director for the city’s parks and recreation, clarifies the difference between a community park and a neighborhood park. He describes a community park as larger and normally with more amenities to accommodate more people and larger events with features such as multiple sports fields and lights.

The neighborhood park, which is what is slated for the Southwest area, is designed to serve residents within walking distance, typically within a half-mile and quarter-mile radius, and is generally smaller.

So far, the project was well-received, and the process is going smoothly, Prohaska said.

“Staff captured valuable feedback to be used in the final design plans,” she said, noting that they received 24 comment cards and will address as many requests and concerns as possible considering the budget and property size.

Plans for a park in this area of the city stretch back to 2002, when this plot of land was officially designated for a park, but it wasn’t until 2015 that money was budgeted and then in 2016 the city approved the creation of the Southwest Neighborhood Park. Construction is expected to start in September and end in March 2018.

Overall, residents voiced wanting an exercise station and more green…

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