The town of Oakland is moving forward with its plans to upgrade Speer Park, and the first order of business is to replace the 19-year-old playground. Several pieces of the current apparatus need to be retired because of age.
The town is purchasing new equipment from Game Time, which offered a grant of more than $29,000. The new purchase price, including equipment, installation and a rubberized surface, is roughly $120,046, considerably less than the $180,000 the town budgeted.
The color palette will be greens and browns, which is what residents requested in a community study. The generic set is being purchased, and the town has the option of adding on in future phases of the park. The mats will be wheelchair accessible, Public Works director Mike Parker said. Two sets will be installed for two different age groups.
The original pieces were installed in 2002, and as replacement parts became scarce, town staff resorted to making replacement parts from wood or eliminating the feature altogether, Parker said.
The commission passed the first reading of an ordinance that adds dark-sky lighting requirements to the Town Code. This addition is being made to avoid having to include the verbiage to every developer’s agreement presented to the town.
Simply put, public lighting must emit minimal light pollution, glare and offensive light sources.
“From here on out, new lighting would be dark sky, whether it be commercial or development,” said Town Planner Jay Marder.
All new or retrofit lights will be included in this new rule. Most of the subdivisions are not dark-sky compliant, he said.
IN OTHER NEWS
• The town is requesting $1.3 million for the design and construction of a wastewater extension project on Jefferson Street. The town has been adding its sewer system from west to east, and this will run it north. It will allow the Oakland Police Department and the Oakland Avenue Charter School to get off the septic system, and it will allow for future development along West Colonial Drive.
• The commission approved an agreement with Pulte Homes for the developer to provide reasonable access to the Historic Black Cemetery in the Longleaf at Oakland subdivision.
• Commissioners approved a special-exception request from Deanna Meredith to build an 800-square-foot accessory dwelling unit to a two-story home under construction at 304 N. Tubb St. The request moves the setback variance from 7.5 feet to 5 feet. The extra space is for Meredith’s mother.
“Building places so you can have your family come live with you, I think, is what this town is all about,” Commissioner Mike Satterfield said.
• Town Manager Steve Koontz said Landeavor, the development company building Oakland Park, will be engaged in survey work on Starr Street. The firm will be paving Starr in the future. Landeavor also will be doing some preliminary land clearing for Phase 7 and will put up silt fences and mark the trees to be kept. The town will be monitoring this work.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.