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Flat Rock residents mostly supportive of Highland Lake park

Miriam Cummins and Ella Dockendorf speak in favor of a Flat Rock park. Miriam Cummins and Ella Dockendorf speak in favor of a Flat Rock park.

FLAT ROCK — Speakers invited to express their opinion about a proposed Flat Rock park on the Highland Lake Golf Club property came out mostly in support of the idea Thursday night.

Two residents cautioned about costs and unwanted intrusions that could come with public park development, and others said they were concerned about traffic and nighttime use.
People interested in the park idea filled the parish hall of St. John in the Wilderness Church Thursday night. About 15 spoke, mostly in favor. The committee gathering information for the Village Council described the meeting as a "listening session" and "not a meeting (for the committee) to advocate for or against a park or the use of public funds." No decisions were made and the committee made no comments in reaction to the audience.
Dave Sciupider, who heads the Western North Carolina Junior Golf Association, listed 13 young golfers who had gone on to college level golf and beyond, and said all had trained at Highland Lake Golf Club, "the unofficial home of the WNC Junior Golf Association." He said he understand that the village would not use the land as a golf course but urged the committee to consider setting off a portion of it for a golf academy.
Kim Myslik, who lives in Staton Woods next door to Highland Lake Golf Club, supported the park.
"I've got two children and neither of them has had a friend in the neighborhood because there's just no kids their age in Staton Woods," she said. "Having a park would be great for them." She said when her son heard the park idea "the first thing out of his mouth was, Mom, is there going to be a lot of space to run around? So I would say, open space."
Several other residents who supported a park also recommended passive uses like trails. Among concerns raised by several speakers was traffic and lights at night; most want the park to be open during the day only.
A Trenholm Woods resident said the park would be a bad idea. She cautioned the village to think about the liability, the cost and the use of the park by people outside the town who would not be paying for it through their property taxes.
Larry Rogers, a Flat Rock resident, also urged the exploratory committee to consider the cost long-term.
"We have jumped on this project like it's a done deal," he said. "I'm thinking, can we afford it and how much does it cost?"
Louise Cummins told the committee that she enjoys playing in the woods and playing outside and saw the park as a great opportunity for both. She said she had plenty of opportunity to play outside but said not all children do. She said she likes going outside to hear the birds and feel the sun.
Louise was one of three children who spoke in favor of the park.
Miriam Cummins and Ella Dockendorf also walked to the lectern to speak in favor of a park and name activities they'd like to see in it.
Ginger Brown, the chair of the exploratory committee, told the gathering that it's premature to answer questions about costs.
"We don't know that yet. That's what we're doing here," she said. "We're trying to define what would be in the park." Once it gathers information about uses, the committee can estimate costs. As for the purchase price, that's up to the Village Council, she said.
Henderson County had planned to buy the property for $1.1 million and use it for a soccer complex before strong opposition snuffed the idea.