Regional park at Hargett Farm estimated at $51.3M

Building an aquatic center would be $20 million.

Installing 12 turf fields and constructing a stadium would add $13 million.

Add lights, sidewalks, paths, roads and parking lots, and it’s $6 million more.

The city of Frederick has a plan to develop the 148-acre Hargett Farm on Butterfly Lane into a regional park, but it doesn’t have the $51.3 million needed to make it happen.

The city’s Board of Aldermen heard an update Wednesday from city staff on the possibilities for Hargett Farm, open farmland that the city purchased for $18 million in 2009.

Roelkey Myers, the city’s deputy director of parks and recreation, presented a draft map of the land that included the aquatic complex, turf fields, stadium, two playground areas, five large pavilions, a maintenance building, a track, an adventure park and a walking path.

The idea is to come up with a general map of the plan to be able to show other public and private organizations that may be interested in partnering with the city for the park, Myers said.

This gets the ideas down on paper, said Mayor Randy McClement.

The aldermen said they liked the general plan, but some had concerns about committing to such an expensive plan without seeing more information on what residents want on the land, and what the city’s return would be.

“I want to understand how the pieces fit before committing to a concept plan that moves us toward that way,” Alderman Josh Bokee said.

The city should be looking back at a survey it did that asked residents what should go on the property, and asking for more feedback from residents, the Planning Commission and the Green Team, Alderwoman Kelly Russell said.

Russell suggested the city set up a separate meeting to get more public comment on the proposed plan.

“I think we are missing an opportunity if we don’t take this to get some public comment on it,” she said.

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said she felt comfortable moving forward with the plan.

The debate over whether to move forward with a regional park on the Hargett Farm has been going on since Mayor Jeff Holtzinger’s administration purchased the property.

The city bought the land using tax-exempt bonds, which means that it is restricted to certain general government uses at least until 2019, when the bonds could be refinanced. The city pays about $1.5 million annually for debt service on the land.

The city has about $276,437 available in its capital improvements program this upcoming budget year, which begins July 1, for constructing the road entrance to the park. But McClement said he doesn’t want to move forward with that project until there is a general draft of the park design.

“We want to make sure we are doing it right,” he said.

Follow Jen Bondeson on Twitter: @Jen_Bondeson.

(37) comments

fnfn

Sell part of it and bring back bulk pickup. They did not realize that part of bulk pickup was that half was recycled by people looking for what they could use!

steven09

The graphic shows it as a "soccer plex," with 12 soccer fields including a soccer "stadium," with an indoor pool. It does not seem very diversified to me. I don't think this is the vision that Holtzinger sold it as.

gilly313

Actually if you look closely at the diagram the fields are listed as "multi-purpose" All or most of the fields will include field markings for football, field hockey, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse (yes they have different markings) and yes...soccer. so to call it a "soccer plex" is wholly incorrect. Soccer and lacrosse (both boys and girls) are the fastest growing sports in this area, and the sports with the biggest need of quality field space. Frederick really is in no need of another baseball field. Frederick County is WAY behind the rest of the region in the quality of our parks fields. FredCo is also definitely in need of a new, state of the art quatics facility. There is a larger capital outlaw to build these types of parks but they will pay for themselves in the long run. Also the community benefit these types of parks can provide is truly priceless.

quemzeee2

Vrelyea, that is called Poor planning. And there was no, no , consideration of any dynamics of impact on residential for many years here.
Builders literaly got away with things that could be looked at as criminal in other juridictions.

vrelyea

Yet in a city of 65,000 there is no money to restore bulk trash collection at any interval. Regular trash pickup has been reduced to once a week. Just one side of our downtown street gets swept once every two weeks. Painted Street parking spot indicators, painted lane dividers, and yellow curbs have faded to near nothing or are never replaced after roadwork. But there never seems to be a lack of funds (even millions) or hesitation for anything that is a pet cause for people in the administration or deemed to be a draw for tourists, eg., bike lane and trail signage and painting for miles, 'historic' decorative street lamps, dozens and dozens of pricey tourist 'destination' signs, and so on.

quemzeee2

Just think. If Frederick did what was done in Minneapolis and tax all rental property [ last count was over 40% of the city]
All this would have been paid for years ago.
But instead we are looking at higher density in smaller areas which will drive up city costs excessivly [ as has been noted across America]
And you get nothing.

How about turning it into a farm for all the shcool kids to go to and become aquainted with life out side of the internet.

We have an entire generation who has had no life out side of internet, cell phones and x box

fnfn

We city people pay both city and county taxes. We pay for our Schools in the county taxes.

We should pay for our police and parks in the county taxes!

What else is like our police, parks and schools that the county should pay to bring down our city taxes.

Our city community is gerrymandered into county homes. They get all the city benefits, except street lighting. Sidewalks do not count, since we, not the city, has to maintain them.

Our city should not do anything until we have money, after paying off our existing bonds. Pay as you go. Stop the Bonds. Pay when we have it. Do nothing until we have it. We get less for our money when we pay interest. Simple as that.

elymus43

Who dreams up these ideas??? They probably will build more BIKE TRAILS??? The City need to sell property now, go on from there.

dbjanda1

Why not hold a fundraiser by those that want a aquatic center park and see how close they get to $51 million ???...The reason they call it an 'aquatic center' is because it will have city dwellers 'swimming' in debt...Me

ginger

Have Natelli pay for it They seem to want to pay for things like this instead of roads and schools.

backroomfrederick

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Comment deleted.
Arcticdc5

That's essentially what would happen since Hillcrest is right around the corner...

cctjr64

Hey maybe Independent Hose Company could put a sub station there to help cover the area? Maybe a city police sub station?

tomgeiser

Jest $51 million! shucks that' cheap compared to the $100 million "Cement Crick" in downtown. (Ronnie's dream)

Top Dog

No golf?

DaveSM

Agree - why not a Putt Putt course?

Top Dog

Check with puttputt.com or have a miniature golf.

swankytom

Why should we city folk shell out for another park that the country bumpkins will come and use for free? Let the county pay for it.

Dwasserba

Just what Middletown needs. We city residents are just so selfless and giving. Stop us, *some*body..... the debt service alone makes me gag....

Fredmd21704

MIddletown already has a park.

fnfn

Stop the Bonds. Pay when we have it. Do nothing until we have it.

Simple as that.

Arcticdc5

Want to come up with the $51M? Start cutting spending in other programs!

Traffic is horrendous in that area anyhow...

Fredmd21704

$51 Million? NO THANKS!

soule1061

This park is not something we really need, it's a nice-to-have. We have streets and roads all around Frederick that need to be torn up and rebuilt. We need a solution to the trash disposal question. Down the road a ways is Ballenger Creek Park. Why is another park needed in the area?

garden whimsey

They want to spend 51 million for a playground but continue to say they don't have the funds for once-a-year bulk pickup for city tax payers.

Fredmd21704

[thumbup]

Top Dog

[thumbdown]

DaveSM

[thumbup]

fnfn

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

They do not even realize that when we put out bulk trash, half of the "trash" was taken before they picked it up.

CredibleWitness

Yeah, let's dense-pack even more traffic onto Butterfly Lane. The new apartments at the old St. John's site will add significantly to local traffic, but why stop there? Lets build a stadium and aquatic center that will draw hundreds more vehicles onto a two-lane country road that can never be made suitable for large volumes of traffic.

Personally, I think the land is doing just fine as open space and garden plots. But I guess undeveloped land feels like unspent money in the pockets of local politicians. Even at that, what's wrong with a simpler concept like the Ballenger Creek Park -- playing fields and open space. Who needs an aquatic center and a stadium?

Dink King

Build it build it build it,and move into the twenty first century with the rest of the world,we are so far behind in this city.

Fredmd21704

We have enough parks! Urbana just got a 2nd park almost across the street from another park....is this really what we need? a 51 million dollar eyesore?

Top Dog

[thumbdown]

quemzeee2

Actualy, Ryland Homes used this as a selling point to many of us who bought in Hillcreast.
Ryland stated in 1985 that a regional park was in the works but were not allowed to discuss details.
So. fact is in 1985 it was being looked at.
Then came good ole Pleasant excavating. Who bought it from the city for 5 mil. and then told the city it was 57 million when the city wanted it back 5 years later.
We had to get a court order to stop Pleasant from continueing to develop it during the negoitiations.
Frederick city will not do well if it doesnt come thru. It is needed with all the hundreds upon hundreds of homes scheduled to be built on the Western end of Frederick.
This is a no brainer, but Im sure it will serve as alot of chater with the elected folks.

fnfn

Blaine's contractors cry poor mouth to expand the infrastructure while using the existing infrastructure to sell, sell, sell...

drumdigger1976

There's an added benefit that this park would bring that city politicians may not have considered - if they build it and thereby raise the nearby property values, it may help improve the neighborhood. The surrounding area is filled with out-of-state landlords who rent to families that pack into small townhouses. If property taxes in the area shoot up a bit, maybe those landlords will leave the properties and reinvestments can be made to turn around the neighborhood.

fnfn

Would we get credit for raising the county property values that is often gerrymandered into our city?

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