Kerr-Tar will assist developing master plan for recreation
Vance County’s future of recreation, parks and greenways is about to begin taking shape in a master plan.
Members of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments will meet with the Henderson-Vance Parks and Recreation Commission on Thursday at noon next week. Their meeting, open to the public but without public participation, will chart specifics of an eight-month process developing the plan.
Included in those eight months will be public input through meetings and surveys.
Alan Gill, the director of recreation in Vance County, said commission members agreed to move their regular monthly meeting up a week so the process could get started.
“The contract with Kerr-Tar goes into effect Oct. 1,” Gill said. We moved that meeting (regularly the second Thursday of each month) up a week to meet on Oct. 3.”
Having a master plan is seen as pivotal to obtaining larger future grants to fund implementation of the plan’s objectives. The master plan, when completed, becomes part of the city’s general fund capital improvement plan, or CIP.
According to recreation leaders, other counties and municipalities have master planning documentation that is constantly updated impacting their ability to fund local recreational priorities.
Diane Cox, executive director of Kerr-Tar, said she has a team of planners who are prepared to get started.
“The objective is to have everything done this fiscal year,” Cox said. “There are numerous steps along the way, and that includes public input. The first step is sitting down with the parks and recreation commissioners.”
Gill said the commission members and recreation staff will make the comprehensive process their main focus during that sit-down discussion.
“They will go over the whole master planning process that they are going to do for us,” Gill said. “This will give commission members and staff an overview of the whole process.”
Cox said details on the process do not have dates set for implementation at the moment. The process will include citizen involvement, demographic trend analysis, the development of action plans, inventories of current programs and facilities, recreation facility maintenance and renovation issues and guidelines for design preferences.
According to Gill, the recreation department is directed by the city, so the contract with Kerr-Tar is between the city and Kerr-Tar. Henderson and Vance County are funding the development of the master plan, dividing equally a $22,000 total cost.
Land acquisition priorities and updating recommendations for facility standards is included in the contract. Benchmarks with comparison analytics involving similar sized communities are also to be included.
As an additional budgeting matter, the contract notes more funding from planning grants could increase the scope of the master plan.
For example, a bike and pedestrian facility plan funded by the N.C. Department of Transportation could be added.
Gill said the add-on contingency is included in the contract in case that additional grant funding can be applied for and awarded.
“We haven’t gotten that far yet,” he said. “The cost share was already approved by the city and county during the budget process. Right now, that is the scope of the project.”
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