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Community members turn out for parks and recreation input meetings

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

SUPPLY—Only a handful of community members were in attendance last Thursday afternoon at a public meeting soliciting input for the county’s comprehensive master plan, but organizers say turnout for the meetings has been strong throughout the county.

Jim Pryor, the county’s parks and recreation director, recently solicited Nashville-based Lose and Associates to complete a comprehensive master plan for the county’s parks and recreation facilities.

The comprehensive master plan, Pryor explained, would outline the future of the county’s parks and recreation facilities for the next 10-15 years.

“It is a long-range planning document, and it’s really our working blueprint of the future system,” Pryor said.

From Dec. 1-4, the parks and recreation department hosted a series of meetings to gather what community members want in their facilities.

“It was a great week,” Pryor said of the community’s participation in the meetings.

“The best turnout was in Leland, and we had a great turnout last night in Shallotte,” he said Friday. “I was just really impressed. People were really courteous. These meetings were really professional, and that makes the process go very smoothly.”

In addition to the public meetings, Pryor said they have been meeting with county officials, county commissioners and the parks and recreation advisory board.

John Overstreet of Norris Design, a Denver, Colo.-based architecture firm, hosted Thursday’s meeting at the Lockwood Folly Community Center.

The residents who came to the meetings, Overstreet said, were well informed about the county’s current park facilities, as well as with what they want in future parks.

Suggestions presented at last Thursday’s meeting included a dog park, a skate park, emergency call systems for current and future parks, tennis courts, camping facilities and an outdoor amphitheater.

Next in the process, Lose and Associates will send out a random survey, and by the end of January or beginning or February should return to Brunswick County to seek input on a draft of the master plan, Pryor said.

The draft will be “a concise plan to make sure they’re on the right track,” he said.

“The process itself is not a wish list of new facilities. They’re going to be rating the facilities we have and looking into our operations, making sure we’re doing the right things internally,” Pryor said.

Pryor hopes the comprehensive master plan—usually a six to seven-month process—will be completed by June.