The Village of Sussex is calling on residents in August to provide feedback on the latest update of the , a multi-million dollar project that could completely transform .
Two 'open houses' are scheduled so residents can view the plans, ask questions and make comments on the project, a topic of heated discussion after were released to the public. The open house forums are scheduled during two of Sussex’s most highly attended events:
National Night Out
- Wednesday, August 1 from 6-8 p.m.
- parking lot
Sounds of Sussex
- Thursday, August 16 from 6-8 p.m.
Engineering firm R.A. Smith National estimated the project would cost $11 million during the preliminary planning stages for the park in September, but Sussex officials said it’s likely that number could change. The reason for the 3-D, detailed designs was to get a more specific estimate, and a completely different design firm, Stantec, is producing the new estimate.
However, it seems as though some Sussex residents have already made up their minds regarding the plan. With a multi-million dollar price tag, Sussex Patch reader Pete says he thinks the upgrade to the park is useless.
“$11 Million? Who is paying for this?” asked . “What will the cost of maintenance and upkeep be per user? Will there be user fees to offset the cost of this fiasco? Keep this kind of useless excessive spending up and you will see a population flight from the village as people won't be able to afford the property taxes. As people lose their jobs and take pay cuts, property values decline, our Parks Administration decides to spend this kind of money. How foolish.”
But to Sussex Parks and Recreation Director , the upgrades to the park are long overdue. She told Patch that the upgrades are needed to accommodate not only the current demands, but to prepare for the future.
“The village is expanding, and we’re trying to create a park for generations to come,” Flaherty said. “This can be something that, for the next 50 years, people can utilize. We’re not trying to just think about the ‘now.’ Also, there are so many groups that come to us that we just can’t accommodate. We’re overburdened with our facility use.”
Both Flaherty and Village Administrator Jeremy Smith say this isn’t one large project that will happen all at once, but rather a multiple-phased construction commitment that could take 20 to 50 years to complete.
For that reason, Smith said the reconstruction project would not go to referendum where residents could vote on the decision unless Sussex officials decide to take on a large portion of the project in a short amount of time.
“At this time, the cost is going in our capital budget, but this isn’t going to be something where we shut the park down and do it all at once,” Flaherty said. “For the immediate future, we don’t know how this will affect taxpayers because we don’t know what we’ll be asking for.”
The public is invited to share their comments with Sussex officials in person at the two upcoming events. Want more in-depth details on the proposed project? Check out with 3-D renderings of the plans.