09/12/12 — Parks, recreation board members eye plans for new center, program ideas

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Parks, recreation board members eye plans for new center, program ideas

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 12, 2012 1:46 PM

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission had a heavy slate of topics to discuss Tuesday as it held its first meeting since returning from a summer hiatus.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard briefed the group on happenings within the department over the summer and offered a preview of what events and programs are being considered this fall.

Barnard updated the commission on plans to build a new W.A. Foster Center, noting that it appeared the Goldsboro City Council had warmed up to the prospect of putting the new center at Mina Weil Park.

The city had encountered difficulty in trying to obtain property in that area to build a new center and City Council members had initially expressed concern about foot traffic on John Street and accessibility concerns for those who frequent the facility from Lincoln Homes and Elmwood Terrace.

The City Council appropriated $35,000 for design drawings for the new center and renovation renderings for the Herman Park Center, determining that the Mina Weil location would be ideal for expansion in the future.

Guests Steven Ashford and Billy Strickland began the meeting by proposing a partnership between Ashworth's boxing program for underprivileged young men and the department. The program had been housed in a small facility that is no longer available for use.

Barnard suggested the program be continued in the Herman Park Center behind the stage of the Gray Room, a notion the commission agreed with.

Recreation Superintendent Felicia Lucas shared usage statistics at the city's two pools where attendance topped 5,000 in July. She said the pools had eclipsed last summer's record total attendance by the first week of July and that numbers from August weren't available yet.

The increase in usage came as the pools altered schedules, alternating between opening pools at Peacock and Mina Weil parks for longer hours.

Parks and Recreation marketed its season pool passes this year to increase awareness of reduced and free passes for children who qualify for reduced or free lunch. Barnard said less than a dozen passes were given out last year while this year there were more than 100.

Barnard also discussed the new walking trail at Fairview Park, which he said was being readily used since its completion three weeks ago, and the department's collaboration with the Arts Council of Wayne County to host Sundays in the Park. He said the event might be held in the fall and spring in the future to avoid high temperatures and weather concerns during the summer.

Goldsboro Kiwanis had contacted the department about sponsoring the proposed disc golf course at Berkeley Park. The city's Travel and Tourism department had already pledged to pay half of the total required to acquire baskets if a partner could be found.

Work continues at the Stoney Creek Park course, with city staff, volunteers and members of the Goldsboro Disc Golf Club aiming to work at the course each day next week.

The city will work with the county to possibly apply for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant to pay for the continuation of the greenway system, which aims to connect Wayne Memorial Hospital and Wayne Community College to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base via a paved bike and walking path.

A race at the city's mountain bike trails will be held sometime in November even as volunteers continue to mark trails behind Bicycle World. The trails will eventually stretch eight miles through the woods.

The commission discussed possible partnerships with Waynesborough Park and the Veterans Memorial for maintenance and utilization, and the implementation of a recycling program that would traverse the entire department from recreation centers to parks in an effort to stay environmentally friendly.

Barnard also revealed Parks and Recreation would be partnering with PULSE, the local young professionals group, to hold a hay maze in front of the Herman Park Center every Friday and Saturday in October, plus Halloween night.

For information about Parks and Recreation programs, call 739-7480.