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Civic Center key to future of Lincoln Park Pool

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
The future of Lincoln Park Pool will depend heavily on what happens at the Salisbury Civic Center.
If the city ever builds a new outdoor pool at the Civic Center, the old Lincoln Park Pool will be gone.
In its place, a new Lincoln Park would have splash ponds, half basketball courts, shelters, a gazebo, a concessions/arcade area, playground, picnic tables and open space.
Just how soon that all could happen is the multi-million-dollar question.
Citizens who attended a meeting Thursday night at the Civic Center were reassured by consultants and city park staff that any changes would be phased in so the neighborhood would never be left without a pool.
Phase One of a Lincoln Park Master Plan would build a new shelter and a splash pond at the existing pool site. The pool, which is more than 40 years old, would continue in operation.
Phase Two of the plan calls for a dramatic expansion of the Civic Center to include a gymnasium, outdoor pool and pool facilities.
When that was complete, the old pool would be shut down.
Phases Three and Four would return to the old Lincoln Park site and add all the amenities mentioned before, including considerable expansion of the spray pad area.
“The problem with all this stuff you’re talking about is money,” said Salisbury resident William Peoples. “… All this is good, but where will the money come from?”
With that in mind, Peoples said the immediate focus should be on making some improvements to the existing pool and adding the splash pad called for in Phase One.
Mayor Pro Tem Paul Woodson, a liaison to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, agreed.
“A gym and a pool down here,” he said, speaking of the Civic Center, “you’re looking at $2.5 million.”
Carl Armanini, a park planner for Woolpert of Charlotte, said the consulting firm heard clearly at a previous public input meeting that the neighborhood didn’t want to be left high and dry. That’s what led to the plan’s recommendations for a phasing in of changes.
Woolpert also is putting together an update of the Parks and Recreation Department’s 2000 Master Plan, and Armanini shared highlights with the gathering Thursday night.
He acknowledged that he was surprised at how much of the overall parks plan depends on what happens with the Civic Center and its adjacent Town Creek Park.
“This is a key element in what happens in the city,” Armanini said.
The next step made by city officials and the priorities they set will be important, he added.
The updated Master Plan calls for a skate park and three-on-three basketball courts for Town Creek Park, besides a new city pool and gymnasium at the Civic Center.
The plan looks forward to 2020.
“Some of this stuff could happen if we didn’t spend $117,000 on a brick street,” Peoples complained, referring to the recent changes in the 100 block of East Fisher Street.
Peoples expressed frustration that the city spend money on that kind of project, yet has refused to fix things such as Lincoln Park Pool or provide lights at Kelsey-Scott Park or along Brenner Avenue.
Woodson said he understood Peoples’ sentiment, but he defended the decision to spend the funds on East Fisher Street because it led to the city’s receiving more than $500,000 in other money for all of the improvements made in that area.

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