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Parks Department Requests Input on Capital Needs Assessment

(July 28, 2002) The Capital Needs Assessment (CNA) is a document that outlines the financial needs of the Park and Recreation Department for capital and construction projects over the next ten years. Projects listed in the CNA are given priority rankings based on input from citizens, park advisory councils, the Park and Recreation Commission, and staff.

Capital projects include renovations to existing facilities and the construction of new parks, recreation centers, and other facilities.

The estimated cost of all projects on the current countywide list of needs for the next ten years is more than $1 billion, which is an unlikely achievement. The CNA is updated every two years, and the Park and Recreation Commission and staff is requesting input from the public on setting priorities. In other words, as money becomes available for capital improvements, which projects should get this money first?

The Southwest Park District hosted one of several planned community workshops on July 25. Chris M. Jackson, Park Commission Chair and Southwest Park District representative, Alan Beaver, Southwest Park District General Manager, Steve Law, Environmental Services Division Manager, and other park representatives spoke on current priorities and the status of facilities in the Southwest Park District.

One item on the priority list is greenways, but future greenways in the Southwest District are a long way from the construction or planning stages. Highest priority greenways in Mecklenburg County are those along Mallard Creek, Torrence Creek, Briar Creek, and Little Sugar Creek. Within the Southwest District, the Coffey Creek greenway is the highest priority. This is because Storm Water Services is acquiring much of the property along this corridor, and greenway planners want to take advantage of these purchases. The second priority is the portion of Steele Creek between Brown-Grier Road and Westinghouse Boulevard.

Another priority is completing final phases of major parks, including the Thomas McAllister Winget Park. Projects at Winget Park include softball upgrades, tennis courts, an enclosed shelter, a playground, a trail, and landscaping.

Also listed is improvements to existing facilities, which would affect several Southwest District parks and construction of new district parks. One of the new planned parks is the Upper Steele Creek Park, which will be adjacent to the new Pappas development west of I-485 at Dixie River Road.

Two natural heritage sites exist in the Southwest District. These are upland depression swamp forests, which are uncommon forest types and are not currently protected from development.

The Park and Recreation Commission and staff are eager for your feedback on priorities. What do you like to see first in the Southwest District? They also urge you to share your views with Mecklenburg County Commission, which will use the CNA in planning future expenditures and bond referendums.

If you have any questions about the CNA and projects within the Southwest Park District, contact District General Manager Alan Beaver at 704-529-1827 or by e-mail at beaveaw@co.mecklenburg.nc.us, or visit the Mecklenburg Park and Recreation web site. You also may view a schedule of CNA Workshops on-line.