06/24/12 — Parks meetings draw small numbers

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Parks meetings draw small numbers

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on June 24, 2012 1:50 AM

Despite lackluster attendance at six public meetings, Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said he was encouraged by enthusiastic responses from the handfuls of people who showed up at the meetings, which were held in each of the city's six districts over the past month.

"(Attendance) hasn't been phenomenal," Barnard said. "But at every meeting there were a few people that gave us a lot."

He said the meetings revealed there is a lot of interest in passive, self-guided recreation throughout the area as well as more walking trails, especially scenic ones.

Renovation at or the replacement of the aging W.A. Foster Recreation Center were mentioned as well -- moves that were essentially greenlighted at the Goldsboro City Council retreat in February -- but Barnard said residents expressed concerns over putting too much emphasis on only one recreation center. Improvements to the Herman Park Center to make it more recreation-friendly were suggested in addition to those at W.A. Foster.

"There's still a void here from the burned down rec center," Barnard said, referring to the city's community building that once stood at the corner of William and Walnut streets.

The building burned down in 2004 and a committee was formed in 2005 to plan a replacement on Center Street. After $1.2 million of planning was spent, however, the City Council voted against building the $9 million facility in April 2010.

Barnard said the first two meetings were largely rained out, but that a dozen people turned out for the meeting at W.A. Foster, with five to six people coming out at the final three meetings.

The information gathered from the public meetings will be combined with results from meetings with stakeholders to form a plan for the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, which is serving as a master plan steering committee, to consider before it's presented to the Planning Department and eventually the City Council for final approval.