On the afternoon of 7 September, we gathered for the second time with local residents to talk about the development of the Campsite Park. This time, we set up our planning point on the promenade behind the military memorial, and perhaps that's why we were joined by many people who hadn't attended the previous occasion. For this reason, we again started the meeting with a presentation of the planning framework and the aims of the EFC, followed by a brief presentation of the results of the previous session.
As last time, the event continued with the introduction of new participants. A diverse group of people, in terms of age, gender and local experience, came together, which was very welcome, as it allowed for interesting discussions between people with different usage habits.
We then presented the "Loop", a new loop that will be set up next year under the EFC. Although the exact trail is still being planned, spectacular diagrams showed the planning process from situation analyses to increasingly concrete plans. The end result will be a 3.5 kilometre long, 1.6 metre wide recorticane loop, easily accessible from all parts of the housing estate. The participants stressed that the running circuit should be designed to minimise the number of crossings for ease of use and to avoid "meandering", i.e. to allow a smooth run.
Returning to our planning area, the Campsite Park, we started to look at the proposals and looked at and added to the "would like" and "would not like" responses to the spring questionnaire. The themes are presented thematically below.
BENCHES, STREET FURNITURE
Most respondents to the questionnaire would like to see more benches in the park - and this was also an important theme in the discussion. Participants agreed that it would be nice to sit down to read and talk in the park, and that more seating would be needed, even with tables facing each other, in a way that would help the community. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of street furniture, such as their material (metal or wood), design (mass-produced or custom-made) and other features that affect usability and sustainability. The latter is important because it makes sense to install equipment that the municipality can then maintain. We also talked about the fears - for example, of misuse.
GREEN AREA, PAVED SURFACES
Just as, as we noted last week, the park's greatest asset is its green space, so the greatest fear is the loss of this very asset. A significant proportion of respondents do not want to see trees cut down or the valuable green space in the area reduced. However, as discussed, it will be necessary to examine whether the paved area in front of the Agora building should not be increased slightly to improve its use.
The Agora is one of the most important users of the park - not only because their guests walk through the area every day, but also because they have many outdoor events that are hosted in the Táborállás park. The questionnaire and conversations with locals indicate that this is generally welcomed, but the current orientation of the stage means that the adjacent row of houses have to tolerate more noise than necessary during events. This could be remedied by moving the fountain in the square in front of the building, which is already out of use, to another location and even increasing the paved area, thus allowing the temporary stage to be rotated 90 degrees and thus creating a more acoustically favourable situation. It would also be important to consider how the paved area could be better 'connected' to the park, to create a more coherent area.
The park currently only contains the Air Force Memorial, no other installed assets. The relocation of the memorial is not on the agenda, but the need for other facilities within the park was raised - respondents to the questionnaire suggested, for example, a ping-pong table, a playground, a sports field. However, these (also among the respondents to the questionnaire) typically had even more opponents, and the meeting tended to agree that a playground or sports field should not be located in this area. The ping-pong table already had a larger support base, and it was concluded that the placement of a facility (either for play or sports) could be considered in the future. We will come back to this in more detailed planning.
The idea of a community garden and community composting was also suggested. This was finally discussed after hearing about the operational experience of the VKSZ, and at the end of the discussion it was suggested that although these are indeed features to be supported in general, in such a public space the community garden could only be used in a closed form, which would in turn reduce the amount of land available for use by the whole community. And for community composting, the municipality prefers to support on-site solutions.
We talked about the need for bins, and went into detail about the number of bins, their operation, and whether it is possible to install selective public bins. This is also a difficult issue, as some people take their household rubbish to public bins, making their daily "operation" impossible. Cleanliness is an important issue for all of us, so it is clear that we will have to deal with it on future occasions.
We also discussed street lighting, the need for drinking fountains and public toilets. The latter was supported by many respondents to the questionnaire, although the experience of use and operation in the city is not very positive. However, it was pointed out that this area is in a special situation, as it is the Agora, which can be accessed "if necessary", so perhaps this is not such a pressing issue.
At the end of the meeting, it was said that next week, on 14 September, we would like to discuss the layout of the park. We welcome all interested parties to our third planning session at 5pm in Campsite Park!