Man’s best friend got a shout-out at a recent Parks and Recreation forum on potential improvements to Enfield Park in Elizabeth City.
Parks and recreation officials are looking to develop the rest of a 2½-acre parcel at the park off Ehringhaus Street near the site of the city’s splash pad.
Some of the suggestions the department has for using the site include building an outdoor gym, a youth playground, a senior playground and a pavilion and other amenities. Also proposed is a walking trail that will loop around part of the 17-acre park.
The meeting was held Thursday, Feb. 13, to present ideas on what amenities should be added to the park and to get public feedback.
Several residents in attendance voiced support for having a dog park. Some of their suggestions for the park included having two separate fenced areas to separate small and large dogs and providing amenities like drinking basins for dogs.
“I would like to see an outside exercise area for the dogs,” said Elizabeth City resident George Grills. “Tubes, things for dogs to jump over. The rules and regulations (for dog park) should be looked over very carefully so the public understands that it is their responsibility to be in charge of cleaning (droppings), it is not the city’s responsibility.”
City officials have discussed creating a dog park for years but thus far have not done so.
Other changes proposed by Parks and Recreation for Enfield Park include moving its existing restrooms to the same side of the park as the splash pad and adding a playground next to the splash pad.
“These are only ideas and concepts for us,” said Parks and Recreation Director Dexter Harris.
The popular park already includes the splash pad, a skatepark, softball fields, basketball court and concession and restroom facilities. Harris said the ideas presented by the department at Thursday’s meeting were intended to “bring the whole family in” to Enfield Park.
Moving forward, Harris said that parks and recreation staff will take into consideration the ideas presented at the meeting.
“We want everybody to be able to spend time together at the park,” he said. “I know with a dog park, that would bring out another member of the family.”
No cost estimates were given but Elizabeth City Grants Management Specialist Jon Hawley said the city will likely seek a grant from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund that could fund up to half the project.
“We see a lot of untapped potential for Enfield Park,” Hawley said. “It is a very accessible and popular facility. It is a great place to keep adding public amenities. We want to get the best use we can out of the park and also because this input will also help us make the case to grant agencies that may say, ‘This is a great thing to support as well.’ The city’s revenue is limited and we have to get support where we can.’’