Village Hears Input on Master Park Plan
BY JOHN KRAHNERT III
The village of Pinehurst Parks and Recreation Department is moving ahead with master plans for Cannon Park and the department as a whole.
The village held its third public input meeting for both plans Thursday at Village Hall. About 25 residents, young and old, attended the session. After brief presentations on both plans, residents divided into small groups and discussed what they felt are the most important improvements and additions.
McGill Associates is consulting on both plans.
"Both of these documents will help us as they guide the future of our department for the next 20 years," Parks and Recreation Director Mark Wagner explained to the group, "and they're also critical planning documents that we need to have when we apply for grants through the state."
Mike Norris, of McGill Associates, ran most of the meeting, including the presentations on the two plans. Norris said the meetings are always a good way to capture information from residents that can't be gathered through surveys.
The village had a survey about the plans posted on its Web site until Nov. 4, and garnered about 200 responses from residents.
"This is a living document designed to be action-oriented," Norris said of the plans.
The comprehensive master plan for the Parks and Recreation Department will consider recreation programs and facilities, determine funding for future development, identify the location of future facilities and examine the needs of all age groups and demographics.
The plans are utilizing a five-step process that includes a demographic review, an inventory of existing facilities, a needs assessment, recommendation and proposals and an implementation plan.
The Cannon Park master plan will consider how that area can be developed to meet the future needs of the village. One aspect of that is a proposed recreation center that could be on the site of the old Village Hall, which burned down in the 1990s. A schematic drawing of a building was shown at the meeting, though Norris said that was about as far as the plan has gone so far.
Wagner said Friday the current design of the building is 17,000 square feet and includes a gymnasium, office space and other amenities. It could cost $3.4 million for design and construction, according to early estimates.
Matching the results of the public survey, all of the small groups indicated they would like to see the continued expansion of the greenway trail system. Suggestions included adding a trail from Pinehurst Elementary to the Given Memorial Library and linking up with the Southern Pines greenway system through the Pinehurst No. 6 neighborhood.
The residents also supported the construction of the recreation center and the development of park property on Chicken Plant Road.
The attendees were also asked to indicate what amenities they would like to see added to the Cannon Park property.
Wagner expects to present a draft to the Village Council by the end of January. He said was happy with the turnout at Thursday's meeting, considering it often difficult to get residents to attend planning meetings - especially the younger families with children.
"That's pretty good for those types of meetings," he said. "I was happy with that. We had a lot more than the first [two] meetings."
Wagner said he was also pleased with the mix of ages of those who attended and thought the discussion during the small group session was informative.
He added, "The groups were balanced. I think there were good discussions."
Contact John Krahnert III at (910) 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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