Green Council plans festival park and library, gives approval for shooting range and training school permits – The Suffolk News-Herald

Over the next 18 to 24 months, city officials expect a new festival park and library to move downtown.

And while a library to replace the old Morgan Memorial Library across from City Hall has long been in the works, the festival park to go next door is happening, at least in part, thanks to the hurricane that tore through the middle of town two years ago.

With city council approval of the conditional use permit to create a garden/open space on the property at 219 W. Zoning—both of which received 7-0 votes at the August 3 meeting—plans on the two projects can go ahead.

Jerry Jones, director of Capital Projects, said he expects the new park, with its distinctive entrance at the corner of South Saratoga and West Washington Streets, to be ready by next June in time for the city’s summer TGIF concert series.

The park will consist of four separate properties on two acres, and will be a community park for the historic downtown district. City officials said the park could attract more than 100,000 visitors a year to downtown to support retail, restaurants and other services.

The city allocated $150,000 from the previous fiscal year to the park through its capital improvements program and plan, while another $550,000 is expected to be spent on the project in the next two years. However, the board will have to approve those funds when it approves subsequent capital projects.

The new $23.3 million library, which Jones has been talking about for 23 years, will be two stories and 37,800 square feet located on three downtown properties just down West Washington Street from the existing library. It will be about two and a half times larger than the current 14,500 square foot library.

The design of the new library will have an urban presence along West Washington Street, and the rear of the library, facing Jackson Street, will have a neighborhood presence with outdoor activity spaces to support library services.

The library’s car park will be on Lee Street, which will be redesigned and converted into a one-way street to facilitate vehicular access for public functions and their employees. There will also be a car park at the back of the building.

“It’s been a long time,” said council member Donald Goldberg. “I’m excited about it. It would be great downtown.”

Jones previously said that the festival’s event garden will create an outdoor space that complements the library’s activity while providing additional amenities for the public.

School approved shooting range

By a pair of 6-1 votes after a public hearing, the board voted to approve conditional use permits for an outdoor shooting range and a property training school along Hosier Road. Deputy Mayor Leroy Bennett was the sole voter on both permit applications.

The shooting range owner and the civic league representing the nearby Skeetertown area met several times to resolve issues with the 284-acre property after the planning committee delayed action on the permits by 30 days.

The property will have several shooting ranges—a 200- and 800-yard rifle range, and a 50-yard pistol range on four acres of the property at 1255 Hosier Road. It is designed to accommodate 12 members at a time. It will also provide retail sales of firearms and ammunition to serve as an accessory for use at shooting ranges. Scopes are already on the property and will not require new construction.

A training school for tactical and non-tactical training for federal, state, local and municipal employees, and the general public, it will also be on 10 acres of gated property at 1444 Hosier Road. Guests will have to pay dues and be screened to become a member.

During the public hearing, state delegates spoke against each other, Republican Emily Brewer and Democrat Clinton Jenkins, about the permits, supporting Brewer, saying that the shooting range and the school would provide a unique opportunity and additional economic benefits to the city, and Jenkins called for more transparency to ensure residents knew what was going on. .

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