KDH West Side Rec group discusses future of Meekins field

Published 11:12 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Kill Devil Hills West Side Recreation Group met on Jan. 15 to discuss the future of Meekins Park.

Meekins Park is currently closed to the public due to the construction of the KDH water tower. This presents a unique opportunity in that the park is due for redevelopment and with it being closed, important improvements can start to begin.

Cameron Ray, assistant planning director, reviewed an online public survey that was distributed throughout KDH to the WSR group. The overall opinion of the park was “fair,” which Ray said is “not what we’re going for.”

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Some recommendations from the public survey were additional and expanded features like restrooms, sports courts, fields and recreation/sports programs. All these ideas and more were in line with the 2004 Recreation Plan Update for this particular park.

Staff had spent time designing a conceptual site plan for Meekins Field, which included improving existing parking and drive aisles to include a drop-off circle and an additional connection to adjacent shopping center, relocation and construction of new and larger restrooms, designing a public art wall and adding landscaping buffers.

Staff also proposed redesigning the softball field/temporary soccer field into three multiuse fields to include a soccer, practice and year-round turf practice field. They also added a connection from the current sidewalk along US 158 to Meekins field amenities in the plan and are hoping to include picnic shelters and an expanded playground area.

Once the conceptual plan was presented, the WSR group members gave some additional recommendations. Board member Daryl Davies wanted to see some trending playground equipment and means of recreation such as a rock wall, ninja course and update playground.

Board member T. Dillon Heikens followed that up by suggesting staff include handicap accessible play equipment. Everyone agreed that the playground area should accommodate children ages 0 to 12, to reach a broader range of children.

To not only limit play equipment to children under age twelve and include some of the other ideas in other areas of Meekins Field, the members agreed to include some additional recommendations to equipment that was geared more towards teenagers and young adults.

Board member Christine Damrose-Mahlmann followed this up with, “being a grandmother, when you take your grandchildren to the park, you may want to do something while they are playing.” Davies made note that not many other parks in the area have incorporated adult play equipment in their facilities. All members were in favor of exploring these options.

Chair Terry Gray felt the best way to pursue improvements to Meekins was through grant funding, “so there is not as much of a tax burden.” Board member Will Foxwell made a motion to present the conceptual plan along with the new recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for consideration.

Ray said that staff will present the site plan at the next commissioners meeting, which will be held on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. The WSR group will meet again on March 18 at 6 p.m. The public is welcomed to attend both meetings at the KDH Town Hall Meeting Room.