Monday, Town and Country aldermen reviewed what types of events and programs will be held at and its farmhouse this summer and in coming years as they and the parks department try to determine what size crowds can be expected at the park as the Longview parking project is evaluated.
The project would add 15 additional parking spots to the park. It's a recommendation that was made by the Longview Farm Park Ad-Hoc Committee which is headed up by former Town and Country mayor Skip Mange.
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Despite efforts by a few Town and Country residents, in March the Municipal Park Grant Commission of St Louis County unanimously approved funding for a $4,000 engineering study grant for the project.
As the expansion moves forward, there is still some question among aldermen and residents on whether additional parking spots are actually necessary in the park. Monday's "workshop" is part of the process underway to find that answer.
Anne Nixon, director of Parks and Recreation for Town and Country, presented research to city leaders Monday night (That presentation can be viewed in the PDF portion of this article). She broke down numbers, including pavilion and farmhouse rentals and classes, from 2008 to what's projected for 2012. Nixon said parking was not an issue and there were plenty of spots, until the summer of 2010 when Longview Farm Park had overflow parking issue 30 percent of the time.
"2011 was all about restoring balance between the level of activity and the parking load," Nixon said. "I think that we achieved what we wanted to accomplish with the changes in rentals (pavilion and farmhouse), classes and valet parking requirements."
For 2012, Nixon has been directed to reinstitute usage in the park with classes being offered and rentals of the pavilion and the farmhouse. She said there will be more rentals allowed this year and more classes, including execise.
Nixon left aldermen with a decision to make, "Do we want to limit the usage of the park or do we want to add 15 spaces in the park and utilitze the park in that manner?"
No decision was made Monday night, but aldermen will have to make that decision as they come up on the next deadline in this project, June 25. At that time an ordinance is scheduled to go before aldermen and they could vote on whether to hire an engineer for the project.
Mayor Jon Dalton previously stated that no action will be taken on the expansion project before June 25. Dalton also said the city will not incur any expense until the preliminary traffic count is in front of the board.
Counters were also installed at the park's entrances in March to count traffic, but they are not functioning properly.
Town and Country Department of Public Works Director Craig Wilde is working on the issue and the ability to get cars counted.
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