BLYTHEWOOD – After raising fees for the use of sports pitches at Doko Park earlier this year, the council is now discussing plans to overhaul and upgrade the current pitches, possibly adding artificial turf and by designing new land on the property the city recently purchased. across McLean Rd from the park.
“The purpose of this discussion,” City Administrator Carroll Williamson told council, “is to provide initial feedback to staff so that we can move forward with planning for this project.”
The revamp of the current regulation football pitch in the park will include the addition of toilets, four youth pitches, lighting, ample parking near the pitches and possibly mobile stadium seating.
A crosswalk will connect the current lots to the newly purchased property across McLean Road where there will be four youth courts, washrooms and parking.
In a 3-to-1 vote last May, the board authorized the purchase of the Wright-Gray Partnership property for $250,000. Less than half of the 4.5 acre property is usable for fields. A pond and wetlands occupy most of the upper half of the property. Franklin, however, assured the council that if the city had not purchased the property, it would have been purchased by someone else.
Councilman Eddie Baughman recused himself from the vote, saying he was friends with the seller.
Councilman Donald Brock voted alone against the purchase, saying that although the city needed the fields, he felt the property was far too expensive.
“Given the unusable amount, we paid about $100,000 per acre. That’s a lot of money to pay for an acre in Blythewood,” Brock said.
The current nature trail around Doko Meadows is proposed to connect with the new property, loop around the pond and new fields, and reconnect with the current trail.
As the fields are slated for major leveling, Mayor Bryan Franklin said some have questioned the clearcutting of trees on the new property, given the city’s strict tree ordinance that regulates neighborhoods.
Franklin justified the removal of the tree.
“I watched that,” he said. “Grass and turf release more oxygen than trees.”
Franklin did not know the cost of the project, but a state allocation of $500,000 will go towards renovating the current fields, not the new field.