Cassen Park needs a wider pathway
I’m glad I could attend the Feb. 8 meeting about the upgrade of Cassen Park. It was well attended, and it was great to see many people coming out for information.
My husband and I walk or ride our bikes over the bridge a few times a week for exercise. Back and forth, over, under and around all four parks, and we are not the only ones. The bridge and all the parks are enjoyed by many. The only upgrades we need for Cassen Park is at least a 10-feet, though preferably 12-feet-wide trail/sidewalk, so everyone can move safely through the area. Right now, all the walkers and bicycle traffic have to navigate through a parking lot of cars and trucks pulling boats. This is not safe especially with little kids on bikes. Once the bait house and bathrooms are moved off the water, let's leave the view uncluttered. We don't need gazebos or pavilions on our waterfront. We have a gazebo now that is hardly used. We do not need any more commercialization of the park. A bait house to serve the needs of our boating and fishing community is fine. No restaurant, and no playground is needed here. We have two waterfront playgrounds now — one right across the river in Fortunato Park. We need to remember it's a boat ramp, and the only one, I believe, in Ormond Beach for boaters to use on the Intracoastal.
I believe we need to appreciate how well used and loved all these parks are by the citizens of Ormond Beach. In the case of Cassen Park, construct a wide multi-use pathway around the perimeter, move the bait house and then enhance the wide open view all along riverfront park for all to enjoy. No restaurants, no playgrounds, leave the on street parking and fix the pot holes in the parking lot for the boaters. I believe less is better.
Cassen Park should have less pavilions
In Oct. 7, 2020, the Observer ran an article about the plan for a new bait house. Contrary to some views about "false information," it gave a design cost of $47,000 and $865,000 cost for a bathroom/bait house combined, and one pavilion, not eight. That totals $912,000. The city’s number. Only recently revealed plans show the project to be way bigger than originally stated. Putting eight new pavilions/gazebos along the waterfront will block the view of the river, especially if they are raised on pilings. It is gross overkill. Two existing gazebos are occasionally used, mostly by fisherman and people on the move who sleep there. Birds roost in them, leave a mess, they are dingy and outright filthy in places, and in no case clean. A recent Observer article about the park stated that commissioners don’t like the idea of eight covered pavilions. We hope that’s true. Before the ink was dry on that article, the Hometown News quoted city staff saying they could install some pavilions now and put the others in later.
Planning to eliminate street parking to create more park space, then add more parking in the park and add eight pavilions, which eliminates park greenspace and spoils the view — It’s a shell game. The city’s own consultant advised them to open up the park so people could enjoy the view, which resulted in cutting down landscaping along Beach Street. Eight pavilions along the waterfront does the opposite, and will block much of the river view. Most people come to the park for activity, not to sit around. Yes, during the Fourth of July they would be used, just as the more than 50 unnecessary benches placed around the park and on the pier would be. But year-round, not very much. I agree with Bill Partington II that the city should not vote until they publicize what they want to do with Cassen Park. That should include divulging short and long term plans for the park and bridge to the public, and include their input up front, not at the last minute before they vote.
Tell us why you are turning the bait shop into an outdoor restaurant. Why is the city competing with private business? It’s the foot in the door for a restaurant in the park. Paid for by us. Stop incrementally adding commercial activity in the park, it will displace park users.
J. R. Miller
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