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Springfield OKs developing park master plan
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The Springfield City Council approved an agreement to develop a master plan for the downtown park areas.

“I worked with Keck and Wood on this project with the hope that it will tie into the tee grant process,” Councilman Kenny Usher said.

Usher said the plan is a vision of what we want to do with the city park, “to make it more available to people of all ages.”

Councilman Charles Hinely said the council would need to find out if the city or county owns the ballpark.

Usher said he thinks the county will work with the city if the county does own the park.

“I gave him a mission of overall enhancement not including the ballpark and including the ballpark,” Usher said.

Councilman Dennis Webb said he thinks Ulmer Park is not something he wants the city to lose.

“I think it adds a lot to downtown Springfield,” he said. “I think we need some rearranging done. There used to be parking around the whole thing, and the chains got moved out a little bit and we lost that parking. Since it’s just little tiny kids playing there it’s not a question of baseballs going through windshields anymore.”

Usher said the fence could be moved in and replaced with a higher fence to allow for parking.

Mayor Barton Alderman said there is a need to determine ownership.

“There seemed to be a lot of disagreement about whether that whole area the ball park, tennis court belong to the county or the city,” he said.

Public Works Director Lowell Morgan told the council he could help with part of the concern.

“The little park where the tennis courts are and the playground, I finally went to the courthouse and did some research, and I have a copy of the deed for that portion to the city,” he said. “It came in four lots, so we own that.

Now as far as the ball diamond itself, I’m not sure. I have not researched that.”

Hinely said the city needs to determine ownership, and if the city does not own the ballpark, the city should approach the county about having the park deeded to the city so the city can improve the park.

Usher asked if the council wanted to delay working on a master plan until after ownership is established.

Webb said most of the work would be on the other park, and if the city is planning to approach the county, they should be able to show the county what the city plans to do with the park.

Morgan told the council the money for the project would come from some older special local option sales tax funds.

He said the money should to be used soon because after 10 years, SPLOST funds revert to the county.

Usher said the process will include a workshop that he would like to see made open to the public.