Historic City News followed City commissioners last night as they approved $75,000 for a “landscape berm” to reduce skateboard noise at Hamilton Upchurch Park following public comments dominated by complaints from the skate park’s residential neighbors.
Commissioners agreed to a plan for a “noise attenuating barrier” about eight feet high along the Flamingo Drive side, and stronger enforcement of the skateboard area at Hamilton Upchurch Park.
The City Commission stopped short of reducing park use to afternoon hours when schools reopen later this month or closing the skateboard area until the barrier is completed.
City Chief Operations Officer John Regan said the barrier should be completed in three to four months, but promised an update at the commission’s September 14 meeting.
“It might as well be Treaty Park in Davis Shores,” Mayor Joe Boles said after hearing residents’ complaints, “and it wasn’t supposed to be.”
The landscape berm plan was developed after sound engineers measured excessive noise levels. Their recommendation for a 12-16 foot “interstate wall” was rejected. Cost was estimated at $400,000 to $600,000.
Conflicting designs were blamed for failure to install a noise berm originally, Regan noting that the berm design got lost in a storm water engineer’s plan for the area.
Regan said he hopes the berm will at least bring the noise level into compliance with the city code, to which Commissioner Leanna Freeman responded, “Compliance may get us out of legal trouble, but to me that’s not satisfactory for a neighborhood.”