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Recreation Study Reveals Davie Spends Too Little

By Mike Barnhardt
Enterprise Record

Davie County residents want more walking trails, picnic shelters and a public swimming pool.
And it’s time for the county to step up its spending on recreation, Will Marklin, chair of a recreation advisory committee, told county commissioners earlier this month.
Marklin presented a comprehensive parks and recreation master plan, developed by the committee with Miller Landscape Architects, that includes information gathered from residents about what they want.
“There’s an obvious passion for recreation in Davie County,” Marklin said. “Parks and rec is a key to our quality of life.”
He suggested a countywide recreation department. Currently, Davie County provides some of the funding for the Mocksville-Davie Recreation Department, but employees are town employees.
“This is just a guideline, the plan can be changed as needed,” he said.
Among the suggestions:
• Obtain more county/municipal-owned park land. The study suggest 262-419 acres of developed parks is needed, there is 156 acres. Completing the River Park at Cooleemee Falls could be an immediate project. It suggests a 250-acre or so “passive park” in the northern part of the county.
• Increase spending on recreation. “Davie County is well below the state average for similar sized service populations in parks and recreation expenditures.” It says the current $15.13 per capita should be increased to the state average of $49.48.
• Davie should form its own department, while towns continue with their departments. The current department needs a better, interactive website.
• Develop a brand and marketing program.
• Commission a countywide greenway/walking/biking master plan. Walking and jogging trails was the No. 1 request among survey respondents.
• An outdoor community swimming pool is needed in central or southern Davie (Cooleemee is raising money to open one there.)
• Work with the three projects: the Farmington Nature Park, re-purposing the Davie High site into recreation if a new school is built, and the 30 acres the county owns off Howardtown Circle and US 158.
The report gives the top 15 recreation activities and amenities that county residents want, listed from first to 15th:
• walking and jogging trails;
• picnic shelters;
• swimming;
• playground;
• fitness programs;
• open play areas:
• nature trails;
• bicycling;
• basketball;
• golf;
• baseball;
• performing arts;
• fishing;
• football;
• softball.
Marklin told commissioners he will be at their June meeting with more specific numbers about costs and timelines. Board members had received the lengthy report just a couple of days prior to this meeting.
The master plan is essential to obtain state grants, Marklin said.
Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution asking the state to maintain support and funding for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which was proposed to be cut in this year’s state budget.
“It’s the only funding we have access to, to build facilities across the state,” said Mike Garner, Mocksville-Davie Parks & Rec director. “It was a significant cut …