SILER CITY — The Bray Park Master Plan, a 15-year, five-phase $15 million project unanimously approved by the Siler City Board of Commissioners last week, will give the town new and renovated …
Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
SILER CITY — The Bray Park Master Plan, a 15-year, five-phase $15 million project unanimously approved by the Siler City Board of Commissioners last week, will give the town new and renovated sports fields, playgrounds and a recreation/community center.
Withers Ravenel, a civil and environmental engineering firm based in Cary, was contracted by Siler City last year to facilitate and create the plan to improve Bray Park, located on Alston Bridge Road, at a cost of about $39,700. While the park already houses several athletic fields, the plan includes the development of about 50 additional acres with the hopes the turning the park into a sports complex that will be able to host tournaments and provide recreation for residents, as well as house the Bray Park Aquatic Center.
The company, in conjunction with the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, held a series of open houses throughout the process to receive input on what residents would like to see at site. According to the presentation before the town board last week, nearly 200 residents participated in “citizen input” sessions and online surveys. Out of those discussions, Withers Ravel identified five priorities for residents: playgrounds, soccer fields, paved multi-use trails, natural areas and a recreation/community center. The plan also includes renovations to the parking lot, tennis courts, ballfields and concession stands that already exist at the park.
The first phase includes the new community center and a new access drive into the park. The center was suggested as part of the first phase as it would be the “gateway to the park” by Withers Ravenel. Though the specifics of the interior are still up for discussion, the facility would be more than 7,000 square feet and would have three open spaces for recreation activities hosted by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department as well as offices for staff. It will also have several restrooms and changing areas. The cost for the first phase is about $3.3 million; as with the other phases, no target completion date has been set.
The next phase focuses on adding sports capacity to the park and improving access for residents. It includes additional baseball and soccer fields, improvements to the parking and “circulation” within the park, renovations to the tennis courts, multi-use trails and stormwater improvements. This phase is expected to cost about $2.5 million.
The third phase is nearly the most expensive at $3.5 million, but will provide the “greatest use,” according to Withers Ravenel. This phase includes two more new baseball fields and a multi-use field, new parking lots, additional multi-use trails, a playground and additional stormwater controls.
In this phase, the existing facilities, including the park’s current baseball fields, will be renovated to bring them up to the same standards as the amenities installed during earlier phases. In addition, a basketball court and outdoor fitness area will also be added. There will also be additional trails and the completion of the concession area. This phase will cost approximately $2.4 million.
The final phase will cost about $3.6 million and will finalize the master plan. The phase includes improving the pool complex and parking lot, converting all fields to turf and completing the fishing pond amenity with trails.
Though the board approved the master plan, they reserved the right to consider varying the phases of implementation based on needs and funding. In addition, the plan is laid out in consideration of 15 years to develop, but the town can also vary that timeframe as well. The plan does allow the town’s Parks and Recreation staff to begin researching grant opportunities for funding the work. The next step is up to the town board to decide.
Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.