Strasburg to refer town park master plan discussions to panel

STRASBURG – The Town of Strasburg is going to move its discussion on hiring a consultant to create a master plan for the town’s park, following a work session on Monday.

During that session, Town Manager Wyatt Pearson said that hiring a consultant company would help the town plan additions and renovations to its park. If the town doesn’t plan changes to the park better than it has in the past, Pearson said, the town runs the risk of running out of available space.

But several Town Council members said they were uncomfortable hiring a consultant without better understanding what they need a consultant to deliver.

Councilman Ken Cherrix, for instance, said that he doesn’t know what priorities within the town park the town needs to focus on.

“If I don’t know what we need, how’s a consultant to know what we need?” Cherrix asked.

Meanwhile, other council members expressed skepticism that the Town Council would be willing to fund the projects the consultant would eventually recommend for the town to pursue.

“I think that’s an important thing for a planner to know, that also the funding is going to be there when it comes time,” Councilwoman Kim Bishop said. “And if we’re not willing to fund it, then why bother with it?”

The actual scope of the project was far from set in stone during the Town Council’s discussion, but the master plan as a whole likely would focus in on studying the part of the town park that is outside of the floodplain. That portion of the park can be developed more easily than the portions inside the floodplain.

Because of the scope of the project, the cost of hiring the consultant was also unclear, although Pearson said during Monday’s meeting that it was unlikely to run higher than $30,000. Pearson said that the town could hire the consultant using discretionary funds, so the project would not impact this year’s budget.