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Architect recommends improvements at Wakefield Valley park in Westminster be phased in as part of master plan

A final master plan for the upgrades to Wakefield Valley Park in Westminster features expanded trails, sports fields and courts, a concert venue, dog park and more.

Peter Stone, a senior landscape architect with Pennoni Associates Inc., presented the final master plan to the city’s mayor and Common Council July 12. He said it’s not a final construction plan and may not include every opportunity for the site, but it’s a framework.

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Based on feedback from residents, the final master plan includes trail improvements and expansions, reforestation and stream restoration, access improvements, three to four ball fields, playgrounds, pavilions and picnic areas, a concert venue or amphitheater, a fishing pier, disc golf, a formal lawn, community gardens, tennis and pickleball courts, a dog park, a sledding hill, building restoration and a future building.

Stone also presented a phasing plan for the developments.

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Phase one will be upgrading existing trail work and making needed repairs, however, all phases include maintenance to the trails.

Phase two will be stream restoration an reforestation . Phase three is for the satellite parking lots and additional access points, phase four focuses on the ballfields, phase five includes an updated crosswalk on Tahoma Farm Road, and phase eight features more parking areas, pavilions, restrooms and playgrounds. The phase nine work includes adding a dog park. Phases 10 and 11 are for trail construction.

“I appreciate the concept of phasing it over time,” Councilmember Dan Hoff said, adding it’s realistic and constructing it otherwise is “not something we can digest all at once.”

Hoff said the city could possibly do more than one phase at a time. He also noted the master plan is merely a guide and changes could happen by the time a site plan is developed.

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“I like this plan,” Mayor Mona Becker said. “I think this plan has a lot of potential moving forward.”

She asked Stone if the trail would be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Stone said they intend the trails to be ADA compliant “to the extent possible” for a large majority of the trails. He added some trails cannot be hard surface, like a “hiking-type trail” because of its slope.

Councilmember Tony Chiavacci thanked Abby Gruber, the city’s recreation and parks director, for her work through the process and noted the public’s gratitude.

“We’re not going to make everyone happy … but there was a lot of positive feedback,” he said.

Council president Greg Pecoraro said the council will schedule a time to further discuss and plan for the phases, “and what meets the needs of the city at a particular time.”

Becker said the city does not yet have a timeline for the project.

Westminster contracted Pennoni Associates Inc. to help with the developments of the park, which largely involved seeking input from the community. The city held three input meetings in December, January and March where the public could write on sticky notes or type online what amenities they wanted to see and what features should be prioritized at Wakefield Valley.

Grant money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund will fund the plan. The park will also receive funds from Maryland’s Program Open Space. The entire project is estimated to cost $13.3 million in construction.

Wakefield Valley was the site of a golf course for some 35 years before it went out of business. The property was acquired by the City of Westminster in February 2016.

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