Gulley Park Goes Big Time

Gulley Park Goes Big Time

Park plans would expand offerings and access


The plan for a reinvented Gulley Park is under way.

Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members on Aug. 6 looked over the latest plans and public feedback recommendations for the 37-acre park near Township Street and Old Wire Road. Two-weeks of public input for an updated concept for the park wrapped Aug. 5.

Ted Jack, park planning superintendent, said the southern and northern ends of the park would have different vibes. The Niokaska Creek trail would run across the park, connecting an entrance at Old Wire Road to the west. The trail would connect on the eastern side to Sweetbriar Park running north, which eventually would connect to Mud Creek Trail farther north.

Near the southern entrance of the park along Township Street would be an expanded activity hub for children and parents. The idea is parents could do something such as yoga while keeping an eye on their children at play. The area would include a splash pad, expanded playground, outdoor chess and game area and a pavilion.

Two natural ponds on the southwest corner of the property would be merged to form a lake. An art garden would go next to that.

A dog park — which in previous drafts of the plan had been closer to homes near the southwest corner — would now go in a more natural area to the northeast, Jack said. Trees and a prairie area would surround it.

Apple Seeds would continue its teaching farm for children, with orchards nearby.

Food trucks could go in near the park near Old Wire Road. Sand volleyball would move near there with tennis and pickleball courts.

The center of the park, near the performance stage, would remain open field.

Smaller trails would run throughout the park.

Jack didn’t have a cost estimate available for the board. Grants will affect the estimate, he said.

Much of the discussion focused on the trail through the park. Board member Joel Freund said parkgoers could encounter difficulty trying to cross a 12-foot-wide trail.

“It’s kind of, to me, like putting a six-lane highway down the middle of the city,” he said.

Park planner Ken Eastin said placing the trail through as proposed would serve as the most functional option.

“It seems like that is a natural divider between activities in the park,” he said.

The board will consider the final plan during an Aug. 23 meeting, although a location for the meeting hasn’t been set.

Board members during that meeting also will come up with a list of recommended park projects for a bond renewal vote next year. The board was given an estimated framework of $20 million to $25 million to work with.

Jack went over some ideas stemming from resident feedback. Parks officials are working on an update to the city’s parks plan.

A paddle park at Combs Park would have an estimated cost of $1 million. The parks board got an introduction to the concept in January.

Many residents reported wanting more natural swimming areas, which could mean creeks or natural swimming pools that use wetlands to treat water instead of chemicals.

Large playgrounds would be another idea, Jack said. The idea is essentially what it sounds like, but the attractions can range from a couple million dollars in scale to massive, multimillion projects, he said.

Water parks, also referred to as aquatic centers, also came up big in resident feedback. The facilities have operational and staffing costs to consider, which wouldn’t be covered in a bond renewal, Parks Director Connie Edmonston said.

A number of lower-cost measures could also be taken on to create more natural areas in the city and upgrade parks.


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