Chicken Yard Park to be discussed tonight at Parks & Rec Advisory Committee
The City and Borough of Juneau Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) will discuss the future of Chicken Yard Park tonight, August 7, at 6 p.m. in City Hall Chambers. The public is invited to attend and comment on the issue. Recent CBJ inspections of the park in June and this week identified significant safety hazards due to the aging condition of the 30-year-old playground equipment and the continued use of motorized vehicles through the park. The PRAC will discuss whether to recommend retaining Chicken Yard Park as a CBJ Neighborhood Park, or removing it from the Parks & Recreation Department. The Parks & Recreation Department recommends retaining the property as a park.
Chicken Yard Park is located on Starr Hill on the corner of Sixth Street and Kennedy Street. The playground equipment was installed in 1988 and is long overdue for replacement. Parks & Recreation would like to replace the equipment and make other park improvements using $90,000 in funding from the voter-approved Temporary 1 Percent Sales Tax. Park renovations would involve a public process for design and construction.
Parks & Recreation is not moving forward with the playground replacement, however, due to the current motorized use through the park to access a residence. CBJ code prohibits the use of motor vehicles within any recreation area. Following the June inspection, Parks & Recreation removed the playground slide from the park for safety reasons due to its proximity to the motorized use. The rest of the playground has reached the end of its useful life and is unsafe; it will be removed for public safety reasons this year. Parks & Recreation mailed a letter on August 1 to all property owners and residents within 1,000 feet of the Chicken Yard Park describing the issue and the details of the PRAC meeting.
If the PRAC recommends retaining Chicken Yard Park as a CBJ Neighborhood Park, then it will be closed to motor vehicles and a public process to design a new park will proceed. If the PRAC recommends not retaining the park, then some or all of the property could be converted to another use or sold. Parks & Recreation cannot install a new playground as long as vehicle use through the park continues. These options will be discussed at tonight’s PRAC meeting at 6 p.m. in City Hall Chambers. Again, the public is welcome to attend and comment. If the PRAC decides to sell the land or convert the use from a park to another use, then the issue will move to the Juneau Assembly for further discussion and public process.