By May 26, 2017

Anthem Plans Dog Park, Pickleball Courts & Expanded Skate Park

dog that needs a park

By Robert Roy Britt — If all goes as planned, Anthem will get its own dog park, dedicated pickleball courts and an expanded outdoor skate park, all within about three years.

Based on input from residents and analysis by staff and the Community Planning & Development Committee, the Anthem Community Council gave a preliminary nod of approval to the three projects, which would be built using money from the enhancement fund.

Board members voted unanimously at the monthly meeting, May 24, to instruct staff to further analyze costs and present proposed project schedules at the July meeting. The projects will likely be sequenced, rather than all at once, and board members hope all can be completed within three years, though timing remains to be determined.

[UPDATE July 29, 2017: See the Project Timeline]

Lots of Support

Each project was submitted by a resident as part of a months-long evaluation and selection process within the town’s master plan. More than 70 residents attended the meeting to voice support for one or more of the enhancements. Several residents said they supported all three projects.

“All of them will, I believe, get built,” said board member Rick Kesselman, voicing an opinion echoed by other board members.

Community Operations Officer Neal Shearer, who along with staff also supports all three projects, cautioned that they should not be tackled all at once, since that would require bringing on additional staff to help plan, manage and oversee the efforts, even though the design and construction would be contracted out.

The idea, board members agreed, is to finish all three enhancements without borrowing external funds. The enhancement fund, which was most recently used to build Opportunity Way Park, is fed by a quarter-percent fee on the sales price of homes. It will hold about $1.6 million by the end of this year, said Community Financial Officer Doug Greenstein, and should grow by about $500,000 per year. The three projects combined are expected to cost about $2 million based on new preliminary estimates. Annual maintenance costs for the new amenities would be funded from the general budget via homeowner assessments.

In February, the board gave the go-ahead to generate plans and a firm estimate for a modest expansion of the community center, which would enclose a balcony to add space to the second-floor weight room. It would also reorganize the first-floor offices and entry area to be more efficient. That enhancement, estimated at $692,118, will likely begin ahead of the other three.

Dog Park

The park would have three fenced grassy zones, about an acre each. It would be lighted, and likely have a gated entry accessible to Anthem residents only. Staff favors putting it on council-owned land at Parker Court, adjacent to the park-and-ride off Daisy Mountain Drive, with a preliminary construction cost estimate of $862,652 and annual operating costs of $104,321. The site is far from any residences.

parker court dog park site

Another site, off Meridian Drive, near Merrill Gardens senior living facility, has an estimate of $1.02 million (maintenance would be the same). The board wants staff to further evaluate both sites, and take into account the views of residents who live within 500 feet of the Meridian site.

meridian drive dog park site

Pickleball Courts

Pickleball is a cross between tennis, badminton and ping-pong. The proposal calls for 10 lighted, fenced courts in an open field south of the community center currently used for pee-wee soccer. The soccer fields could be shifted to other areas in the community park and perhaps Opportunity Way Park. Preliminary cost estimate: $600,318 to build, $26,141 to operate annually.

proposed pickleball court site

Skate Park Expansion

The skate park would be expanded to a grassy area plus a concrete pad adjacent to the existing park on the south side. Preliminary cost estimate: $343,138, and annual operating costs of $23,079. Proponents also suggest considering possible future expansion into the nearby concrete hockey rink, possibly to incorporate BMX bikes.

skate park expansion site

An interesting aside: Board members effusively praised teenager Greyson Bacal, who proposed the skate park expansion and helped develop the plans and rally support from other teens for this project over a two-year period. Board members acknowledged how crowded (and thus popular) the skate park has become, with safety an issue given the range of ages and the mix of boards and scooters. Board member Terry Mullarkey noted that a lot of Anthem youth don’t have a lot to do, especially if they don’t play organized sports. “That is a low budget item that gives them something to do,” Mullarkey said of the proposal.

Details on the projects:

Satellite maps courtesy Google


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