Parks master plan nears completion

The new Pineville Parks and Recreation Master Plan should be completed by September, but the town wants to hear from residents one last time before finalizing the document.

The public meeting, on July 29, a Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m. at The Hut, 413 Johnston Drive, will allow residents and community members to tell consulting firm Woolpert what they would like to see at Pineville Lake Park, the Belle Johnston Community Center and other areas of town in the future.

“A master plan will tell us what the citizens want, and not just the residents, but the community surrounding Pineville as well,” Pineville Parks and Recreation Director Kristy Detwiler said. “And it will allow us to apply for grants.”

Parks and recreation has recently tried to apply for Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, or PARTF, grants but could not garner enough points due to the town’s lack of a master plan, Detwiler said. PARTF grants are federally funded and can include up to $500,000 for local projects in town. 

While the master plan will take into account all recreation areas in town like Jack D. Hughes Park, the main focus will be Pineville Lake Park and the Belle Johnston Community Center. Parks and recreation will develop more site-specific plans for other areas down the road, Detwiler said. 

Residents will discuss ideas that came about through the recent Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Survey, which showed people are in favor of amenities like a dog park, splash pad, swimming pool and more. The survey also identified programs and services community members would like to see implemented in the future. 

The meeting will be led by the consulting firm, Detwiler said, so that the plan will be derived from the community’s needs and not the parks and recreation staff. 

“It’s not going to be the parks and recreation director’s or the department’s plan. It needs to be the community’s plan,” she said.

In addition to elements that could be added to Pineville Lake Park, the plan will discuss ways to improve the Belle Johnston Community Center, such as an expanded gym with more basketball courts, a larger weight room, a yoga or dance studio and more. 

Woolpert will put together a plan following the meeting that will then go to the Park Advisory Board before a formal presentation is made the to Pineville Town Council. No other public meetings will be held unless there is a need for one before the town adopts the plan, Detwiler said. 

The town will then begin moving forward with applying for grants and developing plans for the new elements community members identify in the plan, although no timeline for any implementation for the master plan has been set at this point. 

“The master plan should be completed by the end of September,” Detwiler said. 

A copy of the Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Survey can be found online at www.townofpineville.com/parks-and-recreation.

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