Master plan would be welcomed for review

Feb. 20, 2013 @ 06:28 PM

City and county managers say they are ready to view a proposal by recreation leaders on funding the development of a master plan.

City Manager Ray Griffin said he is familiar with the process that the recreation department faces because it is the same process the city water and sewer utilities undertook to complete their master plan.

Because the recreation department is overseen by the city, their master plan, if funded, completed and then granted the endorsement of the city council, would become part of the city’s general fund capital improvement plan, or CIP.
Griffin said he understands the motivation behind recreation leaders in seeking development of a formal plan document. Such plans aid entities, such as city utilities, for seeking low interest loans, loan forgiveness and grants to fund improvements.

“What they are finding increasingly is that they are needing the well documented master plan in order to be competitive for those grants,” Griffin said.

Griffin added that grant and funding authorities have become strict in their requirements, including comprehensive planning documentation of existing facilities, conditions, service needs and community impacts.

County Manager Jerry Ayscue said he is familiar with the recreation department’s long-standing desire to develop a master plan.

“The concept has been discussed in the past,” Ayscue said. “There have not been discussions yet on this proposal.”

Ayscue said he also understands the benefits of a master plan.

The recreation department, though under city management, is jointly funded by the city and county, much in the same was as the Vance County Emergency Department is jointly funded but administered under the county.

Griffin said that if funded, the county would pay for 40 percent and the city 60 percent. The estimate for the plan is $30,000 to $50,000 and would be done by an outside planning agency.

Recreation leaders last week said the plan is essential for leveraging grant funding for progress in improving recreational opportunities in Vance County.

The recreation department staff is preparing a pitch to the city and county to fund the work. They plan to start with a presentation to Griffin and Ayscue in early March, then incorporate their input into a presentation to county commissioners and city council members at their respective regularly scheduled meetings in early April.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.