Story by Jesse Wood
April 19, 2012. Tonight at a regular Boone Town Council meeting, the steering committee for the Daniel Boone Park project will recommend that the Boone Town Council endorse a proposed concept plan that features a new road curving over the lower portion of Strawberry Hill.
Last month, Fred Halback, a consulting and design firm for Marquis Halback hired by the town, presented to the public and interested parties three concept plans regarding the Daniel Boone Park project, which encompasses Daniel Boone Native Gardens, Watauga County Farmers’ Market, Hickory Ridge Homestead, Jaycee’s Park and Playground, Horn in the West Amphitheater, Strawberry Hill Arboretum, the recycling center and the town’s maintenance yard.
The Daniel Boone Park is a proposed redevelopment project to enhance the 36-acre property and “knit the whole park together,” as Halback said last month.
Eric Woolridge, director of tourism planning at the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, has been involved with the project since its inception.
He said that the committee chose a “tweaked” version of Concept A because it “preserved some of the flatter property for actual facility development, including the farmer market plaza and [provided] an opportunity for a community center.”
Changes from the original Concept A plan include recommending that Horn in the West Drive connect to State Farm Road at the stoplight and that Strawberry Hill will only be used for trail development, which means no roads or parking lots at the top of Strawberry Hill. In the original Concept A plan, a road curved to the top of Strawberry Hill and ended at parking lot.
As one member of the steering committee said at a meeting a few weeks ago, having the road on a “natural shelf” on Strawberry Hill will allow the road to be separated from function. Within the master plan to be presented tonight at the town council meeting, the current Horn in the West Drive in front of the parking area would become a green space with trail and would provide an area for farmers’ market vendors to set up.
During last month’s public forum, the mention of any roads whatsoever on Strawberry Hill was a source of contention for the attendees.
One person said, “I don’t think this is what [we envisioned]. I don’t like that road on the hill. I think it’s going to lose its charm if we make it so multi-useful that it doesn’t fit in.”
Virginia Roseman of SAHA added, “I would assume the community and the town would say ‘That is a beautiful hill. You don’t need to destroy it by paving it.”
Check back for updates on how this issue develops at Boone Town Council meeting tonight.