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Jonesboro finishing preparations for Lee Street Park renovations

This architectural drawing shows the layout plan Jonesboro officials will use for the upcoming renovations at Lee Street Park. Mayor Joy Day said architects are still working on the designs of structures that will be built inside the park, but construction is expected to begin this summer. (Special Photo)

This architectural drawing shows the layout plan Jonesboro officials will use for the upcoming renovations at Lee Street Park. Mayor Joy Day said architects are still working on the designs of structures that will be built inside the park, but construction is expected to begin this summer. (Special Photo)

JONESBORO — Summer is a time when school is out, children are playing outdoors and parks tend to get a little busier.

But this summer will likely be marked with the loud clanging and the roaring engines of construction equipment in Jonesboro’s Lee Street Park. City officials have been working for nearly a year to come up with a redevelopment plan for the park, and Mayor Joy Day said construction is a few months away.

Jonesboro officials are in the final stages of planning for Lee Street Park’s renovation. The city council has already approved a plan which includes an amphitheater, a smaller stage, farmers market pavilions, walking paths, a playground, a gazebo-like pavilion, a fountain and tennis and basketball courts.

There is still some architectural work left to be done, however, the mayor said.

“We’re in the process with Lee Street Park of designing construction plans, including architectural plans for the amphitheater,” said Day. “Once we complete that, they’ll let it out to bid.”

In addition to designing the amphitheater, Day said the exact look of stone seating and raised walls that will go in the park still have to be determined. She said construction work will likely begin sometime between late June and early July.

“It’s going to be a few more months because it takes a while to go through the planning stages,” Day said.

The latest development in Lee Street Park’s redevelopment came a couple of weeks ago when the city council approved about $1.4 million for work at the park, said Day. The city is also banking on the passage of the proposed 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which will raise $300,000 for renovations at the park.

The SPLOST, which will fund county and municipal projects, will go before voters in a referendum May 20.

The layout plan for Lee Street Park has changed slightly since it was approved by the council last fall. Day said the Lee Street side of the park was moved westward because of concerns that parking spaces along that street would leave vehicles sitting too close to the lanes of traffic.

“We had to move everything on that side farther into the park to accommodate that,” said Day.

As a result of that change, the mayor said some items were taken out of the plans. Among the items which have dropped from the plans are a splash pad for children and a storage shed on the western side of the park.

Other than that, Day said designers tried to keep the changes to the park’s planned interior to a minimum to protect a design which was based on public input gathered last summer.

“We tried to incorporate what the people wanted as much as we could,” said Day.

County officials ran Lee Street Park for the city for about 50 years, but abruptly turned control of it back over to Jonesboro leaders in April 2012 amidst a fight over service delivery and Local Option Sales Tax issues. City leaders have been talking about renovating the park ever since.

Residents can view a layout plan for the renovations at Jonesboro City Hall, 124 North Ave.