Revisions to the master plan for Mary Ross Park were unanimously approved at Wednesday’s Brunswick City Commission meeting.
LaRon Bennett, chairman of the city’s Urban Redevelopment Agency, said the request for the changes was the result of conversations with organizers of the two largest annual events at the park — Stewbillee and CoastFest.
“One goal was to ensure events at the park will be maintained,” Bennett said. “We want to maximize event space and still have the daily draw. We are keeping in mind everything that’s happening at the park.”
Bennett estimated the park can still accommodate as many as 12,000 people after the work on the park is completed.
The revised plans move a splash pad about 10 feet from its original planned position as well as construction of a visitor center, pavilion and shade structures.
“One of the things we tried to do was address everyone’s needs,” he said.
But not everyone in the audience was satisfied. A member of the Kiwanis Club and an organizer of Stewbillee said if the changes are approved it’s possible event organizers will have to consider its future.
Prior to the vote, Commissioner Felicia Harris said the public has had plenty of opportunity to provide input about the park’s renovations.
“Let’s move forward with this project,” she said. “All I hear is their concerns haven’t been heard. The URA listened to everyone who came before them.”
She said nobody’s concerns have been disregarded but “you can’t accommodate everybody.”
“All I hear is push back. All I see is opportunity,” she said.
One concern was about the uneven terrain in the open grassy area of the park where it is difficult to set up a tent for a festival.
Commissioner Julie Martin suggested grading the land as part of the project to enable festival organizers to use more of the open green space.
In the end, the commission voted unanimously to approve the revisions to the master plan.
Two public hearings for illegal sales of alcohol were tabled for a month after lawyer Doug Adams said his clients never received notice of the specific charges. He argued his two clients, L Street Liquors and Golden Isles Liquor, were denied due process.
“We don’t know the charges they are accused of being done,” he said.
In other business, city officials approved a $97,000 contract to demolish the old Reynolds Street School.
Perhaps the best news of the meeting was the city’s flood insurance premium only increased by $318 from last year. Commissioners unanimously approved paying the increased rate with no debate.