By Gerhard Schneibel

About 30 citizens turned out to the Hammond Park multipurpose room Oct. 27 to provide feedback on the proposed master plans for the reconstruction of the park.

The project’s steering committee will make a decision Nov. 6 about which of six plans to put forward. A workshop will be held Nov. 12 on the planned aquatic facility, and the public will get to comment again Jan. 21.

Micah Lipscomb, a landscape architect with the Atlanta branch of San Francisco-based EDAW, said none of the plans has been priced.

All six include a 40-by-50-foot indoor space for programs like gymnastics and karate, a loop path for walking, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a soccer field. One plan includes four tennis courts and green space on top of a parking deck. Another includes a parking area in the center of the park. In another, a road through the park would connect Hammond Drive and Glenridge Drive.

Any road through the park would need narrow lanes, lots of curves and plenty of speed bumps to prevent cut-through traffic, Lipscomb said. Still, it could be dangerous for children.

“I think the community has to decide what’s more important: the park experience or being able to get out of your car and go right to an amenity,” he said.

Several people said they hoped to see a walking and jogging path around the entire park, similar to the one in Chastain Park, but none of the plans includes such a path.

Hammond Park is “a whole different experience than Chastain Park. It’s a much smaller park,” Lipscomb said. “This is such a prime location in the city … that (the City Council) wanted to maximize the amount of recreation facilities.”

James Sipes, a senior associate with EDAW, said that regardless of the plan selected, the project will require a lot of grading. “A lot of vegetation would have to be removed, so that will have to be replanted.”

Lipscomb said the community must “think long term about this. This is something that is going to serve the community for the next 50 years.”

Marsha Reynolds, who lives near the park, said all of the plans seem to “cram a lot into a small space.”

“I’m kind of disappointed there’s not more green space and more natural walking paths,” she said. “It doesn’t seem to be very adult-friendly.”

Cliff Settle, whose kids travel as far as Cumming and Snellville to play inline hockey, said he’d like to see a place for them to play the sport in Hammond Park.

“There’s no inline skating in the city,” he said. “Basketball is great, but there’s dozens of basketball courts around.”