New tennis court and park expansion in the works by March
For the past year the Santaquin city council has promised park improvements to the residents on the northwest side of town; this spring it looks like they’ll see those promises come to fruition.
The Santaquin Community Development Department is currently working on designs for park improvement projects around town, the biggest project being an expansion of the Orchard Cove Park (also known as the North Park). The City must spend approximately $216,000 in park impact funds before this summer or risk losing that money to property owners who built homes six years ago.
Those funds must also go toward new projects and cannot be used to repair existing facilities. Community Development Director Dennis Marker said the funds must be applied to permanent physical improvements specifically.
A developer has dedicated an acre and a half of ground around the Orchard Cove Park for expansion and the city hopes to take advantage of that extra land. The park currently features the only tennis court in the city and design plans include the addition of a new court adjacent to the existing one.
In city council meeting two weeks ago, Leisure Services Director Kevin Schmidt made a case for the addition of the new tennis court. He pointed to the growth of the recreation department’s tennis program as an argument for adding the new court. The Santaquin tennis program grew to approximately 150 participants last year despite only having one court to play on.
The court isn’t the only park improvement in the works, though.
Marker said his department is looking into designs for picnic shelters at Orchard Cove, as well as accessibility sidewalks connecting various areas of the park.
At other parks in town plans are underway for smaller improvements. Squash Head Park on Main Street and Orchard Lane Park could both see some improvements to their sidewalks.
At the Sunset Trails Park in Summit Ridge a restroom facility is being designed. The park’s splash-pad water park area draws families during the summer and could benefit from having a restroom facility during the day. Marker said there is always concern regarding vandalism, however, when building an outdoor restroom facility.
“It’s estimated that just those bathrooms at Summit Ridge, if we have them open during the whole playing season it would probably cost the city anywhere from $4000-5000 in maintenance costs per year,” he said. “Some of that is because of anticipated vandalism.”
There are only two other bathroom facilities in parks in Santaquin. One is located at the ball fields south of Santaquin Elementary School and the other is in the Centennial Park on 300 West. The Centennial Park restroom is only opened when the park is rented out to cut down on maintenance costs.
At this point Marker said his department has met with engineers to look at design, and his office is looking at the general layout of the improvements and working on getting bids from contractors.
“Our hope is to finalize design in the next two weeks and put it out to bid and hopefully start construction in March,” said Marker.