Archived Story

Noyes Park neighbors go over details; some looking for changes

Published 10:56am Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Updated 2:10pm Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Residents and the Fergus Falls Parks and Recreation Board spent 45 minutes Monday hashing out details for a new city park, from land donated by Gina Noyes to honor her late husband.

Initial plans for the park included a horseshoe pit, walking/bike path, 10 feet by 10 feet covered picnic shelter, benches, a park sign and planting bed.

“This is all conceptual,” said Steve Plaza, parks, recreation and forestry director. “This hasn’t gone to our engineers.”

The park discussion was back with the Parks and Rec Board after some of the land’s neighbors expressed their opposition at last month’s Public Works and Safety Committee meeting to some of the park developments.

Noyes donated two parcels to the city last summer. It is five acres located kitty-corner to Broadway Park, just west of Broadway Avenue and south of Fir Avenue.

She donated it in honor of her husband, Ervin, who passed away in 2003. Her husband was a contractor and had sold off other land in the area periodically over the years, and the parcels Noyes donated were left over.

Monday, the park board made a recommendation to the Public Works and Safety Committee that, if Noyes approves, would direct city engineers to work with the Otter Tail Valley Railroad to get approval for the bike path location, include a picnic shelter in the park with a grill surrounded by mowed grass.

The committee meets at 7 a.m. Wednesday in the city council chambers at city hall.

“I’ll take these suggestions to Mrs. Noyes and see if she still wants to fund it,” Plaza said.

Noyes expressed interest in donating money to improve the park, making it a natural area with a walking path, horseshoe pit and benches. She also wanted a picnic shelter at the park so she could take her grandchildren there, according to Plaza.

“This is such a unique opportunity based on the generosity of Mrs. Noyes,” said City Council Member Randy Synstelien, who attended Monday’s meeting. “What a fabulous thing she’s doing.”

A couple of residents agreed that the park is a good thing, but they still had concerns.

“I think everybody appreciates the donation,” said Tony Heck, a resident on Broadway Avenue. “The park should stay as natural as possible.”

Heck was concerned about the tall grass in the park area, because he does not want dandelions to develop on his property.

He’s also concerned about police patrol in the area since it’s “really a dead spot back there” and “really a great hangout for the druggies.”

Marlis Baglien, another neighboring resident, had issues with the horseshoe pit and the path.

“Can we eliminate the horseshoe pit?” she asked. “That would be great. That’s 50 percent of the problem.”

Noyes would be fine if the horseshoe pit was not part of the park, Plaza said.

Baglien also wanted to have a paved path, rather than the crushed gravel path that’s planned. Plaza said he’s working on getting a price for an asphalt path.

A bike path connection from Broadway to Fir avenues has been in city plans since 1986, according to Gordon Hydukovich, community development director and city planner.

The Otter Tail Valley Railroad General Manager Troy Dodds said at the March Public Works and Safety Committee meeting that the railroad was against the park because it does not want people around the tracks.

No one from the railroad was at the meeting Monday.

Pending approvals, Plaza would like to see the project completed by August or September. The first step would be to trim the trees, then construct the path followed by putting in the picnic shelter.

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