Cheverly’s Town Park soon might have new attractions — and less mud, according to town officials.
Mayor Michael Callahan said several new features are being considered for the park, including an expanded playground, a new stage, a multiuse sports court area and upgrades to make the park more handicapped accessible.
Just as important, he said, are plans to address park erosion, which has been caused by rainfall runoff from the nearby parking lot and Town Hall.
Town Park is on a hill below the parking lot of The Cheverly Executive Offices at 6401 Forest Road.
“We worry if it goes unabated for the next 10 years ... it is just going to get worse, and the look and feel of the park will get worse with it,” Callahan said of the erosion.
The Riverdale Park-based Neighborhood Design Center — a nonprofit group that offers free assistance creating designs to improve communities — provided a conceptual design for the park at no cost to the city, according to Rachel McNamara, the project coordinator for the center.
McNamara said that as rainwater flows down the hill, it picks up speed and starts to erode the soil at the park, which causes it to be muddy and can create small streams.
“In nature, that is how new rivers are formed,” McNamara said. “But that is not exactly what they are looking to have at Town Park.”
Callahan said that starting at a town meeting in April, residents can discuss what they want to see at the park. They will have more opportunities at future meetings.
He said he also plans to have officials ask residents what park upgrades they would like to see at the town’s annual Cheverly Day on May 18 and the Cheverly Community Market days held at the park starting in May.
“Different people have different ideas on what we have done,” Callahan said of the conceptual design. “All the … work we have done has simply got us to the starting line.”
He said the town did not yet have estimates on how much the renovations will cost. There is no timeline for when improvements will be made, although they will likely be done in phases as the town receives funding from grants or approves funding from the budget, he said.
Callahan said Town Park’s plan had not been reviewed in at least 10 years.
The park currently has basketball courts, tennis courts, barbecue grills and a pavilion that can be rented out for events. Officials are considering converting the tennis courts into a multiuse sports court, which would include basketball, and converting the basketball courts into a new gathering space.
The park is 12 acres, according to Cheverly Town Administrator David Warrington.
McNamara said she suggested that the town have permeable pavement at the top of the hill and put rain gardens in the park, which would include native flowers and shrubs that could absorb water as it comes down the hill.
“We want to make sure that it is efficiently designed for people to use, and that it reflects the community the best it can,” she said.
Resident Doug Alexander, 59, said he recently walked through the park and felt the soil needed improvement, as some areas are muddy.
“I think it is worth a reasonable investment,” Alexander said of improving the park. “And I don’t know what that figure may be yet, but it is a park that the whole town uses and some areas are not in very good shape at the moment.”