GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Looking for a good spot to play your favorite sport? How about a place to go where you can learn how to play chess, or where your children could go to learn safety rules for …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Looking for a good spot to play your favorite sport? How about a place to go where you can learn how to play chess, or where your children could go to learn safety rules for riding a bike?
Now’s your chance, Clay County, to let your community leaders know what you would really like to see in a long-range plan for parks and recreation in the area – and maybe even take a chance to think out of the box a bit.
The Clay County Parks and Recreation department is currently conducting a survey to help determine just what residents here would like to see in their quest for good parks and recreational activities, said Michelle Sharp, the county’s new Parks and Recreation department manager. Long a subject of the Board of County Commissioners, a parks and recreation master plan became one of the top choices of commissioners for action when they were asked by Chairman Wayne Bolla to rank their priorities when he took over as head of the BCC late last year.
With all that in mind, the survey is intended to provide feedback from the community as the Parks and Recreation department works on a master parks plan, Sharp said. The survey can be taken online, and can be found at http://www.claycountygov.com/departments/parks-and-recreation/park-survey.
“There’s nothing like hearing what the actual taxpayers actually want,” said James Householder, facilities manager for Clay County (parks and recreation facilities fall under his responsibilities). Householder said the goal will be to provide a 10-year master plan for parks, looking at current use levels, population growth, maintenance needs, what people would like to see in the future, costs and how to pay for what is desired.
For Householder, one of the most important aspects of a parks survey and proposed master plan is to look at the big picture, taking into consideration the needs of all groups in the area.
“We have to look at our county as a whole,” he said. “We should be being all inclusive,” he added, saying that “thinking out of the box,” and beyond the traditional amenities such as recreation facilities that serve athletic associations and ball sports might be a way to serve a larger population.
That could include younger groups and more mature senior groups. Things from a community center where people could simply meet or take chess lessons or let their children learn bicycle safety rules to courts for pickleball – a new tennis/badminton-type of sport that’s become very popular – could be ideas that come out of the survey, he said.
“It’s our job to weigh it out,” Householder said. “We have to be careful that we serve all of our citizens.”
Bolla said he hoped to schedule a workshop on a parks and recreation master plan in early March, using the survey results as a basis for the plan.
“I hope people will give the survey the full attention it deserves because it’s going to help decide how we’re going to spend our money for parks over the next 10 years,” he said. “We just want to make sure we get the biggest bang for our buck.”