08/07/12 — Residents offer views on parks

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Residents offer views on parks

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 7, 2012 1:46 PM

More than two dozen people turned out for the last community meeting on the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation master plan Wednesday evening at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, where city residents floated dozens of suggestions and critiques of the city's parks and recreation centers.

The discussion wrapped up a monthslong set of meetings with residents to form the department's vision for the future.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said he was pleased with attendance at the meeting, as well as the earlier meeting at the Day Circle Community Center, especially since attendance at many of the other meetings had been lackluster.

"I was really happy with the turnout and that folks were willing to talk," he said.

The two meetings were tacked onto an already lengthy tour by representatives from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, who were on hand at six meetings -- one in each city district -- throughout May and June, although poor weather spoiled several of the scheduled dates.

Barnard said he was pleased with the messages he received from the meetings as they all pointed to a handful of improvements that nearly everyone agreed were important.

"It was all constructive -- even the critiques and the themes were consistent," he said. "Folks want walking trails, they want access to water and they want a high level of maintenance."

And while putting together walking trails and implementing more water activities were items to be put into the master plan, Barnard said upping the maintenance of the parks to make them truly beautiful could be done for a relatively small amount of investment.

"It's not just the number of parks or playgrounds, it's important to (the citizens) that their parks look nice," Barnard said.

Parks and Recreation is partnering with the state's environment and natural resources department to put together a master plan for the parks system at a bargain rate of $5,000.

The plan will be presented to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission in September.

After making changes outlined by that body, which is also serving as the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee, the plan will be presented once more for approval before it is presented to the Goldsboro City Council for final approval at its Oct. 15 meeting.