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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

More on the Glass House and Peacock Park

Seems like the big news in town is the Glass House in Peacock Park. Lots of people are concerned about the place going commercial. Others can't wait for a restaurant to come in. It's going to be an ongoing discussion for quite a while it seems.

I spoke with Ron Nelson, District Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's Chief of Staff. He told me that only one side is available for commercial use, but I think we knew that.  And of course the City still owns the Glass House, it's only leasing part of it for a restaurant or maybe something else.

The side up for RFP is the side facing the water, it's 1900 square feet inside and the outside patio area is 600 square feet, the rest of the 7226 square feet will be used as a community center run by the Parks Department and staffed by at least one person daily, who works for the Parks Department.

As for St. Stephen's they are cleaning up the one area round the glass house, but they have no control over the glass house. For decades, St. Stephen's has used the park as it's own back yard. They paid an annual use permit which was about $153.00. For this small fee they took control of the whole park. Now under the new deal with the city, they are only permitted to use certain areas from 8 am to 3 pm, school days only.

The guy that ran the skateboard park in the back, ran it into the ground. He was given a year to clean it up and run it as a business. He did not conform to the city's demands. He opened only sporadically  it never had set times and it was run down and dangerous, so he lost the skate park.

The new revocable license agreement/use agreement that St. Stephen's signed, is for a period of 10 years. Currently St. Stephen’s renews an Annual Use Permit each year, which allows them use of the entire park for one year. This new agreement acknowledges their contribution and eliminates the need to renew their annual agreement for 10 years. It is NOT a lease, it conveys NO property rights and it is revocable with 10 day notice. It also limits St. Stephen’s to a small portion of the park during school hours, thus making much more of the park available to the public . This arose when St Stephen’s came asking for some improvements to be made to the park.

They were rightly told that they have used the park for 40 years or more and maybe it is time to give back. They happily accepted that challenge and the result is $500,000 worth of improvements to the park. With these improvements comes the promise from the City to reclaim the NET Office as park space and bring on a full time manager in order to add programming to the park. I love the fact that the City didn't just roll over and fix up the park because St. Stephen's asked for that. I feel that the City did the right thing here.

The basketball court (old shuffleboard) is where a CrossFit/free play surface will be. The existing basketball court next to the proposed soccer fields will be rerurbished. No new hard surface is being added to the park. The school will only have exclusive use of the proposed soccer fields and the adjoining basketball court during school hours. The proposed soccer fields and the adjoining basketball court will be available to the public during all other hours. The open field at the southern end of the park will remain untouched. Currently the school gets a permit to use that field and all other parts of the park during school hours. They will no longer use that field thus making the field even more available for public use than it is currently.

St. Stephen's will be using between 3 and 5% of the park under the new agreement.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm torn. I'm happy that that the church's dominion over this public park has been lessened and they have decided to put back some of the money into the park that has benefited them so much for the past twenty years or so (I don't remember them there until maybe the late 80's / early 90's) and made it possible for them to advertise a huge recreational area for the school kids but at the same time the thought of a private business on the east side still doesn't feel right. Thinking of having to pay to sit in a public park still Irks me.
I loved one poster's idea yesterday about a museum dedicated to local history. A museum with a snack bar maybe?
And water and bathrooms? Bathrooms pleeeeze! I think all the parents who use the playground and who have to take their children to pee in the bushes and all the drunk baseball and kickbal players who play in the big field at night who also end up peeing in the bushes would also reeeeally appreciate it.

Thanks for going deeper into this issue and taking the time that most of us cannot to find out the details.


May 07, 2013 10:25 AM  

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