Auburn community members are welcome to participate in a come-and-go public meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 30 to review plans for an upcoming recreation project — the Lake Wilmore Community Center.
The meeting will last from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Harris Center on Perry Street, and the public will be able to chat with city staff and project consultants, review plans and leave feedback.
The project, which will be located on property off Ogletree Road, will bring a recreation center to a part of the city that has long been without one.
"When we acquired that property, that was one of the reasons we did, because we didn't have anything south of the interstate," said Becky Richardson, director of the Auburn Parks and Recreation Department. "(The center) will provide additional space for not only sports — basketball and volleyball and things like that — but it also will provide some additional programming space, and that's one of our challenges right now."
The future community center will be a small portion of Lake Wilmore Park, which will be developed over time on about 208 acres of land. All that has been constructed on the land so far are mountain biking trails, which the city will not remove, Richardson said.
In the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan, a concept plan for the park outlines what could potentially be featured in it upon its completion — ball fields, athletic fields, a disc golf course, dog park and trails, among other things. The plan says Lake Wilmore Park is "a prime location to provide a variety of both passive and active recreational amenities for the city."
Richardson said the concept plan could change over time.
"What I tell people is this: This is a concept plan, and as time goes on and needs change or other property becomes available, then what is put here may change a bit based on how needs change," she said.
But for the park's first phase, the city is focusing solely on the Lake Wilmore Community Center, which will be built alongside a parking lot and an outdoor pool. Planned for inside the community center are two full-sized gymnasiums, programming rooms, a fitness area and classroom for Zumba and other exercise classes and an indoor walking track above the gym area, according to Richardson. Included in phase one could also be an athletic or recreational area outdoors, adjacent to the community center.
"There could be some walking trails, or there's been some discussion of some pickle ball courts, some other types of activities that we're going to be looking at," Richardson said.
She said the rooms that will be used for programming will be bigger spaces, which are in high demand. Also in high demand are pools, and the construction of a new neighborhood pool will fill the absence of the Drake Pool, which was demolished during ongoing construction to Drake Middle School.
"It’s always been in the plans to do a neighborhood pool there, and so it became more important to have another pool when the schools had to demolish Drake Pool in order to do the renovations at Drake," Richardson said. "We do have a couple of other pools long-term in the master plan. This was the easiest one to go ahead and build because we already had the property available."
The Lake Wilmore Community Center parking lot will be accessible from Ogletree Road. The concept plan shows the access road continuing on through the property and connecting to Grove Hill subdivision, but Richardson said the extension road is not included in phase one. She is unsure when the city plans to move forward with it.
After the community input meeting on Wednesday, the consultants will review the feedback provided.
"If they see anything that jumps out at them that they think is a concern, there will be meetings to discuss that, and once they get that, they'll go ahead with finalizing and starting on construction documents," Richardson said.
Dirt could start moving for Lake Wilmore Community Center some time in 2020, with the goal to complete the project in 2021.