Ball fields, trails likely in plan for downtown Hampstead park

January 15, 2002|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Hampstead council members have begun shaping their vision for a downtown park and hope to develop a plan that will allow land grading and turf seeding to begin this summer.

Town Manager Kenneth C. Decker said that although Hampstead leaders have much to consider about specific layouts, the basic plan for the park seems to have solidified, with walking trails and three or four baseball fields likely to be the main features.

The town, anticipating demand for more ball fields, bought the 17-acre Brown property between North Carroll Street and Christopher Way in June with plans to build a park. A $326,000 grant from the state's Project Open Space program paid for the land.

It seems clear the town will need to connect dead-end roads Christopher Way and Dakota Road to provide adequate park access, Decker said.

At a public hearing in October, residents of Christopher Way said they are worried that park visitors would leave cars on their street and drug dealers would look for business in the park. Town leaders said they expect to hear these and other concerns as plans for the park progress, but the town is determined to build the park, they said.

"I'm sure some people would rather see it remain a field with soybeans and corn," Decker said. "But the alternative to the park is a development of 55 high-density housing units, so those who may not love the idea of a park may want to consider that. I, for one, would like to live on the edge of a municipal park, where somebody else has to mow the lawn that I use to toss the football."

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