FLAT ROCK — So far use of the Park at Flat Rock has been light, with a few walkers and dogs sighted since the park opened on Friday, Dec. 13.
The Flat Rock Village Council last week announced the official park opening, showed off the first two park benches and appointed a park advisory committee. The Village Council bought the former Highland Lake golf course property for $1.15 million. It has appropriated roughly $832,000 for park improvements for the budget year ending June 30, although no major work has been authorized yet.
The state's Parks and Recreation Trust Fund awarded the village a $475,000 grant to help pay for the park and the improvements. The check arrived last week, Mayor Robert Staton said during last Thursday's council meeting.
The Village Council also created a new Park and Recreation Advisory Board and appointed retiring council member Dave Bucher and former park exploratory committee members Ginger Brown and John Dockendorf to serve. The Village Council scheduled a planning workshop Jan. 7 to discuss park development.
The first two priorities are an improved walking trail, rest rooms, a picnic pavilion and a new entrance off Highland Lake Road. Walking the entire perimeter of the parkland would be about a 1.5-mile trip.
"The community will take pride in having lovely open space and they will enjoy the passive nature of the park as we don't plan on having any soccer fields or those kinds of things," said Village Administrator Judy Boleman, village and zoning administrator.
Council has approved new amenities to The Park and more changes are still being talked about. The village hopes to add playgrounds to the park, among other things.
"There is a conceptual plan for the park that will involve walking trails and, possibly, in the future, an interpretative area in the wetlands as an educational component," Boleman said. "It will just evolve as the council decides what needs to be done in the future to enhance the Park."
It is important to the council and staff that the Park retains its atmosphere.
"The council wants to be careful, environmentally, to be sure that we retain the natural quality of the park because that certainly reflects our community value," Boleman said.
The council decided to go ahead and open the park despite the fact that no park improvements have been made. "The park is in development phase and portions of the park may be closed to tbe public at times," a sign says. "Obey all construction zone instructions."
The Park is open from dawn until dusk. For more information about the Park, contact Flat Rock Village Hall at 697-8100.