Aging infrastructure at the Happy Valley Park and population growth in the Happy Valley area prompted Eddy County leaders to request the development of a plan to rehabilitate the nearly 70-year-old public park.
Eddy County contracted MRWM Landscape Architects from Albuquerque to develop a master plan to improve the park located at 5899 Jones Street.
Jeff Stuart, associate landscape architect at MRWM, said the firm analyzed the current conditions of the park and put those in a proposed design presented Wednesday during a public meeting at the Happy Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
MRWM recommended creating ADA accessible area, the renovation of the soccer field via new grass and a new irrigation system.
“There’s some holes, weeds and things like that. What we’ve seen there, the maintenance has been really good. We’ve noticed that everywhere throughout the park,” he said.
“Some of the existing shade structures are beginning to show their age a little bit. Some of the finishes are starting to rust off. The playground area is a nice size playground, but the surfacing and edging currently around it now is not Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible,” Stuart said.
Tennis courts, pickle ball courts and volleyball courts were part of the recommended additions, along with picnic shelters and shaded pavilions.
Eddy County Public Works Director Jason Burns said the design was still flexible, suggesting that new backstops for baseball and softball fields and additional playground equipment may be incorporated if the public expressed an interest in those features.
Burns said improved lighting at the park was also an essential part of the plan.
Happy Valley was home to 780 residents as of March 2022 based on data compiled by the American Community Survey Office and released on the New Mexico Demographics website.
Stuart and MRWM’s owner Robert Loftis did not have any data on the number of people who use the park daily, though improvements to the park might appeal to homeowners in the area and in Carlsbad’s newest housing subdivisions.
Burns said the County wanted to give Happy Valley residents “something they can be proud of.”
“This has some very nice potential. It’s a blank canvas. That’s the feedback we want,” he said.
As the design evolved, Burns said community feedback from Happy Valley residents was key as the County and MRWM focus on the rehabilitation project before seeking money from the Eddy County Board of County Commissioners to fund the rehabilitation work.
A cost estimate and construction schedule have yet to be determined said Burns, Stuart and Loftis.
A second public meeting on the project was expected to be scheduled before any final proposals were taken to County Commissioners for approval.