Calling all park lovers: If you’ve ever wanted to help shape the future of Davis Park, here’s your chance.
The Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department is working to create an official Davis Park Master Plan; the document that guides future development at the 95-acre Mountain View green space. An advisory group comprised of locals and representatives from neighborhood organizations is set to meet for the first time in January.
“This is the start of the conversation,” said Stephen Rafuse, an assistant planner with the park department who introduced the process at the Mountain View Community Council meeting Dec. 8
Rafuse said the the advisory committee would meet three times over the first few months of 2015, narrowing down neighborhood priorities and coming up with a preferred design for future park development. That design could include anything from additional parking and a skate park to a pump track and disc golf course. The park planner said the process will include ideas from the Mountain View Lions Club, Polar Little League, the rugby and ultimate frisbee teams that use the park, neighborhood residents and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, which owns the park and leases it to the Municipality of Anchorage.
“We try to create a common vision out of what we hear from the group,” Rafuse said.
Once the group finds that vision, he said the plan will then head to the Mountain View Community Council for a resolution of support. It then goes to the Parks and Recreation Commission for more public comment, Rafuse said, and then to the Planning and Zoning Commission for final approval. If everything goes smoothly, Davis Park could have a new master plan by fall 2015.
Not everyone welcomed the idea at the Monday night community council meeting.
Dan Maher, a Peterkin Street resident and vocal park advocate, was sharply critical of the park department’s plan. Why did it let Davis Park fall into disrepair in the first place? Maher cited overturned trees, broken signs and fences and seemingly unresponsive park administrators.
“It’s like the neighbor who has all the junk around his yard, and never mows it,” Maher said. “You guys are just a bad neighbor.”
Rafuse said some of Maher’s criticism was fair, and he welcomed the opportunity to work with neighbors to improve park conditions. Besides, he said, community council meetings are one of the best places to hear feedback on proposed park projects — both good and bad.
“If people don’t speak out, I feel a little frustrated,” Rafuse said.
Want to be involved? The yet-to-be-scheduled advisory committee meetings are open to the public, and Rafuse said he welcomes written comments sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A youth open house is set to take place March 24 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Mountain View Library.