Duluth city parks to get facelift

DULUTH -- Two Duluth city parks will get a major facelift in the future as W.P. Jones Park and Bunten Road Park will get various renovations.

The funds, which will come from the 2009 SPLOST, will cover new signage (park entrance and park rules), a new parking area and improvements to the playground (W.P. Jones), and a new playground and roof to the activity building (Bunten Road).

"These are more than a necessity," Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Marelle said.

"There is a need for additional parking at W.P. Jones as there are no parking options available for public use of the playground and pavilion area.

"(At Bunten Road), the roof is beyond repair on the activity building and it has continuously leaked for the past several years. The playground structures have deteriorated to where it's exceeding our maintenance budgetary lines. In its place will be new, modern equipment that will cost less to maintain."

The total costs of all projects approved by the mayor and city council amounted to $754,400.

The city council also held a public hearing on a request for a special-use permit under the zoning ordinance to allow the continued operation of a professional business office on the ground floor with the CBD zoning district on Hill St.

Innovative Architects LLC have been tenants (and now own the building) since 2006. The first SUP was granted in 2007 with a five-year expiration date.

The city council voted to approve this request on a few conditions.

"We want the SUP to not exceed five years so that we can reassess the area in five years," council member Marsha Anderson Bomar said. "We also understand this business is growing and they might eventually move out of their current location. This SUP should only be good for this particular business."Other items approved by the city council include:

-- An ordinance to approve the appointment of Frank Bell to serve on the Alcohol Board, Alternate II position, ending on March 31, 2014.

-- An ordinance to amend chapter three of the alcohol ordinance to allow the city clerk's staff to perform background checks related to issuance/denial of alcohol handling permits.

-- An ordinance to amend the ancillary alcohol sales portion of the alcohol ordinance which will allow ancillary sales in areas where it is determined that the sale, service or consumption of alcohol is not the primary business of the local establishment. It also establishes penalties and revocation on those who violate any provisions.