Parking isn’t the problem, either

(the natural sequel to “Parking is not the problem“)

On the agenda for tomorrow night’s City Council meeting is a report about some options for pools and spray parks.

Of especial interest:

Also under consideration at this time is the development of an aquatic facility at Holmes Field, where consideration is being given to both a spray park and standard pool, whichever is deemed most appropriate. Although DPW&P is aware of neighborhood interest for a pool at Holmes Field, our consultants believe that this location as a pool site is problematic. Preliminary design shows that the site’s topography does not lend itself to the construction of a pool. Moreover, the lack of adequate on-street parking is of significant concern and will require that on-site parking, within the park, be developed. The development of a 50 space parking area will encroach on other park facilities that will need to be moved within the park or eliminated entirely.

Which brings us to a potential ‘solution’:

While the City’s long-range aquatic plan remains intact as a goal, consideration is also being given to the development of a pool at Green Hill Park. This location has a number of advantages including that Green Hill Park is centrally located and is one of the city’s premier parks; a pool at Green Hill will complement the existing Farm, playground, picnic facilities, ball fields, walking trails and Vietnam Memorial, that currently exist to create a “critical mass” of activities to attract families; and Green Hill Park also offers ample parking and easily services residents from Districts 1 and 2. Obviously more public input is needed before serious steps are taken to develop a pool at Green Hill Park but the benefits at this location certainly warrant further consideration.  

The funds from which the Holmes Field aquatic facility would come are a CSX Neighborhood Improvement Fund.

The pools that have been dismantled and which we will hopefully replace were neighborhood pools.

In the memo’s discussion of the East Park spray park, there was no concern about the lack of on-street parking on Shrewsbury Street, which — depending on the time of day — can have very little available parking.  So why is parking an issue when discussing Holmes Field?

The pools as they once existed were neighborhood pools.  The intention was that folks in the immediate area could walk or bike to the pools, and that the pools would be located in areas with a relatively high population density.  The point was that folks should be able to cool off in the summer with as few barriers as possible.

So neighbors — not just in the East Side, but everywhere — should be concerned when the discussion quickly moves from “we’d need to do a spray park rather than a pool at Holmes Field” to “aw, heck, let’s just do a pool at Green Hill Park.”

Green Hill Park, it’s true, “offers ample parking.”  It is not, however, “easily” accessible to “residents from Districts 1 and 2.”

If you live to the north of Green Hill Park, you cannot drive there easily.  And if you don’t have a car, the park can be pretty inaccessible.

(And the whole point of neighborhood pools is that you shouldn’t need a car to get there.)

Green Hill Park is a wonderful park, but it’s not a neighborhood park, and we have already paved and built over far too much of its “green.”

The problem with Holmes Field is not a lack of parking spaces.  It’s that we don’t even remember why we have these pools, and that we are way too callous when it comes to taking land from our “flagship” parks to erect buildings and create more parking spaces.


2 thoughts on “Parking isn’t the problem, either

  1. Jenn Falcon says:

    Green Hill Park has had ENOUGH buildings built in it, it is supposed to be a park not building ground. There is a pond right down the hill. Unfortunately, the life guards only allow swimmers a tiny little space that becomes so crowded you can barely move, forget swim. I talked to someone who offered to donate some bigger floating ropes so there could be an outer swim area for older children and adults, but the life guards I spoke to weren’t interested. They don’t want to have to look after all that. Yes, there is trash at the bottom, but the water is actually relatively clean. Rather than spend money building another building, why not do a real cleaning, and expand the swim area.

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