The draft of a master plan to makeover Charlottesville's Tonsler Park is due for City Council's review. This wraps up a year-long process to redesign the park space along Cherry Avenue and prepare it for the future.
Charlottesville has made two renovations to Tonsler since it became a city park in 1965. Now, the city's proposing new changes for the eight-acre park's future. A master plan - up for council's review - makes a series of recommendations to upgrade the park.
"This is such an important park. It's a community park - which means it serves not just the neighborhood but the broader community," said Dede Smith, city councilor.
The plan suggests taking down the fence around the baseball outfield to open the space up for other sports. The basketball courts get a new surface and nets. The city is also eyeing land purchases around the park to create trail connections to Tonsler.
"We have the opportunity to make a pedestrian off-street linkage to some of our really vital southern neighborhoods," said Smith.
The Swanson family bikes from across Charlottesville to enjoy Tonsler's playground.
"It's a good destination for us to bicycle to. It's a good distance from our house on the other side of town," said David Swanson, who lives in Charlottesville.
Swanson looks forward to the improvements to get more people packing the park.
"I think anything that brought more people here would be good. I think some people don't come here because it's empty and seems maybe not safe," said Swanson.
City Council will vote on approving the master plan at its meeting Tuesday night. $1 million is budgeted in the capital improvement plan for 2015 and 2016 to fund projects in Tonsler Park.
For more on what will be discussed at City Council's meeting Tuesday night, read below.
Charlottesville City Council will also consider spending on two big budget projects at Tuesday night's meeting.
The first – a $380,000 expense - would upgrade the city's phone system. It was installed in the 1980s. The city says faulty equipment caused three phone service outages between April and June.
Council will also consider setting aside $400,000 to buy right-of-ways from four property owners at the corner of Emmet Street and Hydraulic Road. That would make way for improvements to the congested intersection.
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