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As scenic and unique as Manchester’s Fred Deadman Park has been with its ball fields, river, greenway and recreational spaces, the parking area and roads have never matched the picturesque setting of the park. Now they will.
Starting this week, Manchester will spend approximately $50-60,000 of its paving budget to have the roads and parking areas paved for the first time in the park’s long history.
“If you’ve been down there it has been a yearly thing of patching pot holes,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Bonnie Gamble, who added that paving the park has been a desire of the recreation commission for years.
“They are going to completely pave the park and will be lining off parking spaces, also,” Gamble added. “This is an attempt to make it nicer in appearance and create increased safety in preventing cars from just parking all over the place.”
Manchester Alderman Donny Parsley added that the road running behind the National League field near the railroad tracks will be widened.
“We will make that road two-lane accessible,” he said. “We are also reworking the ditching to get water off the fields.”
The funding will come out of the street department’s paving fund. Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman said the work done by the public works department has made the project fiscally possible.
“[This project] would have cost a lot more but [Steve] Moran [with Rogers Group] came and talked to us and we have been down there doing a lot of the prep work ourselves. They would have had to do what we are doing so that is saving some money,” said Norman. (Click here to watch Manchester Times video of the project.)
Public Works Director Brent Carter said crews have been at the park for approximately three weeks preparing the area for the project, which will begin this week. Moran said the work will be done during the day and during the week and should have a minimal impact on traffic for games - which start at 5 p.m. throughout the week.
Gamble praised Carter and the public works department for the work they have been doing at the park.
“We have been trying to see if money from the street department can be used [for a while],” said Gamble. “The street department should get a lot of credit. They have been doing work preparing for paving and that saved us money. I can’t say enough complimentary of them.”
Moran, with Rogers Group, was at the park Friday observing small details of the project.
“Not many parks have the appeal that this one does,” he said. “That river makes all the difference in the world with the [Little Duck River] Greenway next to it, the trees on that river, it’s right outside of downtown… it’s a nice park.”
Norman added that the project is needed at the park to enhance the visual appeal and increase the chances of drawing major tournaments – a potential financial benefit for the city…
Continue reading this story in the April 24 print edition of the Manchester Times. Click here to subscribe to the print and/or full online version of the paper.