Projects destined for North Suffolk parks

Published 9:36 pm Thursday, March 26, 2015

The city of Suffolk is poised to give a construction contractor notice to proceed with a kayak and canoe launch at Sleepy Hole Park, Parks and Recreation Director Lakita Watson said last week.

The project is fully funded with grant money and matching funds, she said.

Meanwhile, City Council recently endorsed a Capital Improvements Plan that includes $600,000 for the North Suffolk park over the next five fiscal years, starting 2017.


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Listed projects also include additional parking, expanding the trail system, extending public sewer to restroom facilities, a dog park, interpretive center, amphitheater and “adventure camp” with group camping area and ropes course.

“We feel like if we can incorporate an area where we are able to encourage conservation education and group camping, it would be very beneficial to our community,” Watson said.

Watson said the ropes course would be a “team building-type facility.”

“It provides an opportunity to lease the facility for outdoor personal development and team-building activities,” she said. “It usually consists of high and low elements.”

Watson said groups like the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, as well as corporate organizations, would use the ropes course. “It really encourages individuals to work together,” she said.

The amphitheater would encourage outdoor education by allowing organizations such as the Virginia Zoo to offer learning sessions, according to Watson.

She said the money included in the CIP would be used at match money for grants for leverage.

In consultation with citizens, the city will develop a master plan for improvements at the park. That will “give us a better action plan” on how the projects will proceed, Watson said.

“As we look at that, we are able to prioritize,” she said. “That input is crucial.”

Meanwhile, the CIP also includes $1.6 million, spread across fiscal years 2018 and 2019, for a new, 5,000-square foot lodge at Lone Star Lakes, another North Suffolk park.

Watson said the current lodge rests on the land the city deeded to the Nansemond Indian Tribal Association in 2013.

“We are looking for a replacement facility out on that property so we are able to provide a place within the park where people can come for classes, camps and to look at a map to know where they are in the park,” she said.

“This would double as office space for staff, and also as a rental facility and educational facility.”

The city is yet to look at a design for the lodge and its location within the park, according to Watson.

“We have just put some preliminary information together,” she said.