See the plan for an expanded Fire Station Park

A year ago, concerned residents gathered to share their vision for an expansion of the Fire Station Community Center at 1616 Hemphill St. in a multiday workshop. After the workshop, a survey continued to collect more public feedback.

Among the elements receiving the strongest support were a skate park, dog park, flexible spaces for farmers’ markets and public events, interactive features for all ages and well-shaded areas for relaxing.

Now it’s time to reveal a concept plan for the expanded park, prepared by consultants at Project for Public Spaces.

Review the draft plan and share your feedback at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at Fire Station Community Center, 1601 Lipscomb St.

About the project

A coalition of community groups has been working for more than two decades to promote improvements along Hemphill Street and throughout the Southside. Efforts are underway to design and program a vacant parcel at Hemphill Street and Maddox Avenue that would add more than an acre to the existing Fire Station Park and integrate a seamless experience across both parcels into a combined community space.

In addition, last year’s Envision Hemphill workshops generated hundreds of responses showing strong support for protected bike lanes, safer crosswalks, on-street parking for retail and other street design elements.

HDR Engineering has made progress on “rightsizing” plans to reconfigure Hemphill between Vickery and Hammond streets. Plans should be completed in the coming months. The next step is to secure funding to install new markings and schedule street resurfacing, possibly in the first or second quarter of 2018.

The park improvements will not happen as fast, however. There will be additional design steps required between the public meeting and the start of any construction. The city has already allocated funding for the park’s final design and a first phase of improvements.

If you are unable to attend the public meeting, share your ideas for the expansion of Fire Station Park with Joel McElhaney or Mike Brennan.

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