Council wants more Lions Park info

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Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 2:11 pm

The City of Elk Point is looking at taking over Lions Park, but just how much of it is still up in the air.

The park, located near the center of Country Club Estates, is approximately 15 acres. It is owned by the Elk Point Lions Club, but they are looking for someone to take it over. President Don Schurdevin and treasurer John Slattery were at the council meeting Oct. 7 to discuss several options for the park.

The entire 15 acres is a detention pond, designed to temporarily hold water draining off the development. No permanent structures can be built on it. It is surrounded on three sides by 39 properties.

Slattery said he met with about 40 residents who own property surrounding the park last November about their taking ownership of at least part of the park. He initially offered them the 100 feet of land between their lots and the park. Most seemed to be in favor of that and some residents wanted more, up to 150 feet. Nothing was formalized at the time.

A few months ago, the city approached the Lions about taking over the park. The discussion at Monday night’s meeting centered on how much of the 15 acres the city would get. If landowners took 100 feet each, the remaining park would be around 10 acres. At 150 feet, the park would be seven acres.

Council member Steve Nelson questioned how effective a park that small would be at meeting the needs of nearby residents. He wondered if anything the city might try to do, such as a walking path, soccer fields or a fenced dog park, would fit into the smaller space. He said to honor the original intention of the park, the city should own all of it. That way there is room for future plans.

Two property owners, Amy Merkley and Amy Scarmon, addressed the council. They said they were not interested in acquiring the additional land and knew of one other property owner who felt the same. They wanted the park to stay in one piece. Slattery said in their cases, the area behind their homes would be offered to the owners on either side of their properties. Council member Lance Penfield wondered whether those properties owners could then fence in the area, effectively cutting off access to the park.

Susan Forma said she and most owners she has talked to want the extra land to buffer their homes from the park. She said many residents already use the area, with numerous swing sets and trampolines in use. Forma wondered what exactly was meant by “no development” on the land, since there are several sheds behind homes.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.