Master plan sought by recreation leaders

Feb. 14, 2013 @ 06:19 PM

Recreation leaders hope to get the city and county to pay for development of a master plan they say is essential for leveraging grant funding for progress in improving recreational opportunities in Vance County.

The Henderson/Vance Recreation and Parks Commission on Thursday heard chairman Randy Oxendine’s detailed strategy for presenting their case to county and city leaders through the month of March.

Oxendine said the cost for an outside agency to develop a master plan document that would have the detailed legal standing to meet requirements for many grant funding agencies would run from $30,000 up to $50,000 depending on bids received for the work to be done.

“A master plan is needed in order to utilize grant fund opportunities that the recreation department can get,” Oxendine said. “We are hoping for the city and county to fund this.”

Commission member George Watkins was blunt about the consequences of not having a formalized master plan at the heart of an aggressive strategy for seeking grant funding.

“Without the master plan, you’re not even considered,” Watkins said. “It is something we have got to have.”

Watkins said the city and county is short on expertise required for development of such a plan.

Oxendine said larger counties and municipalities have master planning documentation that is constantly updated. He expressed hope his proposal is not stopped by conventional thinking that says Vance County is too small to attempt a more aggressive quest for grant funding opportunities.

Oxendine said he will prepare a PowerPoint presentation for pitching the need to fund a master plan, and show it to the recreation commission’s select six-member master plan committee on March 1 for tweaking.

He would like to present the edited PowerPoint pitch to City Manager Ray Griffin and County Manager Jerry Ayscue by about March 8 so a presentation can be perfected by March 15.

Oxendine aims to make a honed PowerPoint presentation to county commissioners and city council members at their respective regularly scheduled meetings in early April.

In other business:

• Quorum for meetings is an easier task for the recreation and parks commission thanks to full membership by city and county volunteers. With Hilda Delbridge, a retired Vance County Schools physical education teacher, joining the commission and seated on Thursday, all commission memberships are now occupied and a quorum was present for official business.

• Recreation Programs Supervisor Julie Allred reported that the first Polar Plunge on Saturday was a great success, with 47 “jumpers” raising $2,300 for Vance County Special Olympics by taking the leap into 40-degree waters on a near-freezing day.

“We are totally going to do this again,” Allred said.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.