DANVILLE – City officials plan to apply for a state grant soon to help with the renovation of Carver Park.
Local leaders asked the public in February for ideas, suggestions and volunteers to help steer the park's future. An independent redesign committee has since formed and meets every two weeks.
"We're kind of brainstorming," said Parks Superintendent Steve Lane.
Lane will submit the committee's final design to the state as part of the city's application for a grant that could help offset the cost of new playground equipment, parking lots, nature trails and recreation fields.
Applications for the grant open May 1 and end July 1, Lane said.
The former site of a 130-unit public housing complex, Carver Park is more than 9 acres and includes picnic areas, a playground, a softball field, a tennis court and two basketball courts.
The park can be expanded to 28 acres if the city acquires adjacent land owned by Danville Housing Authority. Danville High School, eight churches and three other housing authority complexes are located near to the park.
Victor Calloway, director of Laura Lee Fellowship House, has encouraged kids to offer their input on what Carver Park should look like, bringing them along as he attends the design committee meetings.
"I think we're getting some good ideas out there," Calloway said.
Renovating the tennis court for more than one use, such as a volleyball court and a paddle tennis court, or designing a football field that also can be used as a soccer field have been suggestions to save money, Calloway said.
The softball field could be expanded for use by Danville High School and a putting course could be used to introduce golf into the area, he said.
But these are just ideas, Calloway said.
"We're trying to make the park as versatile as possible so everybody can use the park," he said.
While the design committee is still its early stages, a second independent committee is still being formed.
This committee will focus on a proposed cultural celebration center that Mayor Scott Eisenhauer announced earlier this year. The cultural center will be in Carver Park and memorialize the contributions and history of the city's black leaders.
Project Chairman Les Brown said volunteers are still needed for the committee, but the committee will not meet until after Brown leaves his post as city treasurer. Brown chose not to run for reelection this year. Elected officers are to be sworn in May 15.
City officials said they will provide assistance to both committees but the plan's success will depend on volunteers and donations.