Warner Memorial Park is an 89-acre natural area park in the southwest quadrant of the city. The Park is largely undeveloped and in a natural state. Existing Park amenities include mowed pathways and natural surface trails, including the historic Military Trail, and two park shelters. A 9-hole disc golf course was constructed in 2010. Local players expressed desire to expand the course to 18 holes. The proposed expansion of the disc golf course set the master plan process in motion for Warner Memorial Park in 2017.
On October 1, 2018, City Staff presented the Coralberry concept to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB). Coralberry proposed additional trails; improvements to existing shelters; an 18-hole championship disc golf course; a new picnic shelter, restrooms, and larger parking lot on the east side of the park; off-leash dog park; a nature play space; rockery gardens to control erosion; and removal of invasive plants such as eastern red cedar and honeysuckle. Approximately 70 people attended the meeting. Twenty residents shared comments and concerns about the proposed Coralberry Concept. Eleven spoke in opposition to expanding the existing disc golf to an 18-hole course; five spoke in favor of expanding disc golf; and four people had general comments about the Coralberry concept. The PRAB recommended the Coralberry Concept for the Warner Memorial Park Master Plan with removal of the disc golf expansion, dog park, and nature playground. PRAB members stated that Warner Memorial Park was not a suitable location for an 18-hole disc golf course; however, the board agreed that the existing 9-hole course should remain. The Board had concerns about access to the proposed dog park and nature play space. Members were not necessarily opposed to the activities, but were concerned that the existing park access would not allow for sufficient use of those amenities at the proposed locations.
City Administration then took the master plan process to the City Commission on two separate Work Sessions. On November 27, 2018, staff updated the City Commission on the Warner Park master plan. City staff presented the Coralberry concept and a modified version of Coralberry recommended by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which removed expansion of the disc golf course, nature play space, and dog park. The City Commission requested further information before making a decision on the Warner Memorial Park Master Plan. The Commission asked staff to further research claims of Native American burials in Warner Park; explore alternative layouts for an 18-hole disc golf course in Warner Memorial Park and at other locations in the community; and explore options to re-open Warner Park Road to allow more access to the interior of the park.
During the August 27, 2018 City Commission Work Session, City Staff provided further information on the Warner Memorial Park master plan process. Staff sought direction on development of an 18-hole disc golf course in the Park and also requested feedback on the potential re-opening of Warner Park Road to vehicle traffic. The City Commission gave clear direction that they did not want to expand the current 9-hole disc golf course nor change the current road accessibility throughout the Park.
The next steps involve the development a draft master plan document based on the City Commission's direction. The document will be available for public input during the month of October. The draft master plan document will then be presented to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. After revisions, a final draft master plan document will be presented to the City Commission for adoption before the of the year. The 2019 CIP has alloted $40,000 from the Special Parks and Rec Fund to be used on the first phase of the Warner Memorial Park Master Plan. The phasing plan has not been completed but the Master Plan will recommend how those funds will be used in the Park between 2019 and 2020.
More information about Warner Park is available at http://mhkprd.com/187/Warner-Park