City evaluates proposed sites for new sled hill

FLUSHING — After receiving public feedback and concerns, the City of Flushing has narrowed down its list of proposed sled hill sites to Eastview Park and Riverview Park.

At Monday’s meeting, Flushing City Council reviewed three proposals for a new sled hill provided by ROWE Professional Services Company, city administration and Flushing’s Department of Public Works (DPW). The first two proposals provided different configurations for a sled hill at Eastview Park on the city’s northeast side, while a third proposal included Bonnie View Court near Coutant Street.

In March, Flushing City Council approved the sledding hill project with the intent to place the hill on the southwest side of Eastview Park. While the city still favors Eastview Park as the most suitable location for a sled hill, ROWE also evaluated Bonnie View Court along Chestnut Street as a possible project site because of its accessibility and proximity to nearby neighborhoods.

However, many residents expressed opposition to Bonnie View Court as a sled hill location, citing privacy concerns for homeowners and the hill’s impact on flooding, traffic and safety in the neighborhood.

Several city council members said that they also fielded numerous  calls over the weekend from residents who opposed placing the sled hill in Bonnie View Court.

“I understood their concerns,” said Councilman Dan Fralick. “When I read the plan over the weekend, went to (Bonnie View Court) and looked (the site) over, I shook my head and said, ‘no way.’”

In response to public concerns, City Councilman Dane Miller made a motion to eliminate Bonnie View Court from consideration as a sled hill site—a move that received unanimous support from the council.

Mayor Joseph Karlichek then proposed that the city add Riverview Park near downtown Flushing as a possible sled hill location. Riverview Park was the site of the city’s old sledding hill—a huge spoil pile that was removed in January 2020.

“We have the skating rink already there, and you’ve got the Flushing A and all the businesses,”

Karlichek said. “It would be great to have people come downtown to skate, sled, eat, drink hot cocoa and shop. It would be a great location if we can do it.”

Flushing City Manager Clarence Goodlein said that the city and ROWE will conduct a feasibility study to see if a new sled hill at Riverview Park would have any adverse effects on the Flint River watershed or the floodplain at the park.

Mayor Pro Tem Edward Sullivan said that regardless of where the sled hill is constructed, the city will do its best to make the hill a safe attraction for locals.

“We’re not going to have just a giant pile of dirt,” he said. “It’s been engineered so it can be mowed and so grass can be planted on it. We want to make this hill look aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”

When construction begins this summer, the sled hill is expected to span around one acre in length and will be developed with 6,000 to 7,000 cubic yards of dirt from the city’s upcoming Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) renovation project.

Sullivan said that the city can also afford to wait a little longer to select the most suitable sledding hill site.

“I learned tonight that excavation at the Wastewater Treatment Plant has been pushed back, so we’re not in a time crunch yet,” he said. “They’re not going to excavate until June.”

Flushing’s sled hill project, slated to cost between $38,000 to $44,000, is being funded primarily through money raised by the Flushing City Parks and Recreation Committee.