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Pathway project moves to GRF for consideration as 2021 capital project

By Cathy Tallyn

Staff writer

 

Spurred by the GRF Board’s seeming interest in a system of walking trails and parks, the GRF Planning Committee wants to see if the Board will put its money where its mouth is.

In a 3-1 vote, the committee decided it wants the Board to look at the community’s masterplan with an eye to adding pathways and parks along Rossmoor Parkway. It also wants the Board to add a pathway project to the 2021 list of capital projects.

The committee spent an hour during its Oct. 8 meeting talking about adding pathways and a park next to the pickleball courts and at Rossmoor Parkway and Golden Rain Road.

Ballpark estimates put the cost to hire a consultant to develop a plan at $150,000 and to put in the pathways at $2 million to $3 million.

At that price, “it’s going to be dead in the water,” said Ken Anderson, the committee member who voted against the plan.

“My initial fear is if we say $3 million, that’s too much money,” said committee member Kathleen Stumpfel. “Do we want walking paths? Until they’re in the masterplan, we’re not going to get them any time soon. We need to put this before the Board as a capitol project for next year.”

Committee Chairman Carl Brown agreed that $2 million to $3 million would be a hard sell. “There seems to be a lot of interest, but not at that price,” he said. “We should see if there’s a less expensive alternative.”

He suggested using a cheaper material for the trails and putting in a test pathway to see if that’s feasible.

“Are we putting the cart before the horse?” asked committee member Dwight Walker. “We need a masterplan that guides us into future projects, like this.” Such a plan he said, would “give staff the direction they need.”

The park and pathway plan surfaced after walkers became enamored with walking the golf courses when they were closed during the start of the pandemic. Now that the courses have reopened, walkers only have use of the Creekside Golf Course cart paths in the evenings most Tuesdays through Saturdays. Both courses are closed to golfers for maintenance most Mondays.

“No matter what walking paths you build, it’s not going to be walking on the golf course,” said Landscape Manager Rebecca Pollon.

At the request of the committee, Pollon has come up with a four-phase plan for pathways and three parks for out of play areas of the golf courses along Rossmoor Parkway.

The Planning Committee is made up of four GRF Board members. Now that the long-range masterplan and walking paths projects have been put on the capital projects planning list, the full nine-member Board will decide on their merits.

Board members will rank the projects, discuss proposals and then decide which to fund for 2021. Not all projects high in the ranking get funding, said CEO Tim O’Keefe.

The committee will continue discussion of hiring a planning consultant and putting in a test pathway during its meeting on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 10 a.m. via Zoom.

In other business, the committee decided to ask for two to three residents familiar with communications and marketing to volunteer for the newly formed ad hoc communications task force.

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