Collier Township residents got their first glimpse of what the sprawling Nike Site community park may look like as the municipality moves closer to breaking ground at the former military base.
The preliminary plan includes two baseball fields, two multi-use soccer fields, tennis and deck hockey courts, an amphitheater and numerous walking trails and picnic pavilions. A.J. Schwartz of Environmental Planning & Design answered questions about the plan during Tuesday night’s Parks and Recreation Board meeting.
The design came from a planning session on Jan. 24 in which on what the new park should have. Schwartz said those suggestions went directly into the design, although there is still plenty of time to change the plans.
About 70 acres of land on the western side of the old Charles E. Kelly military post is being turned over the township – most likely in 2012 – so it can build a recreation hub for Collier citizens.
The most appealing portion of the park may not be the ball fields, but rather a lookout area where a radar tower now sits. There will be trails leading up to the top of the lookout and picnic tables will be placed around the area.
“The view is spectacular up there,” Schwartz said. “We tried to get as much value out of the lookout area. There aren’t really any buildings. The view is the amenity there.”
The first phase of the plan likely will include a Colt League baseball field, two multi-purpose fields, an amphitheater and a bike path beside Nike Site Road connecting to the Panhandle Trail. Schwartz said the path, which may only consist of signage and painted lines, is important because the connection to the trail could unlock additional state funding.
The timeline for each phase is still fluid because the federal government probably won’t hand over the title to the property until 2012. Parks and Recreation Director Bob Caun said that might impact state grants or the construction schedule.
“It’s going to take time,” Caun said. “It’s going to be a work in progress.”
Discussion about keeping the base’s mess hall to use as a commercial kitchen that could be leased were rejected because the military stripped most of the equipment from within the building, Caun said. Many of the buildings on the property ultimately will be demolished because they do not meet modern-day code requirements.