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Opportunities for Public Input on Redevelopment of Two County Parks

Post Date:04/02/2019 9:03 AM

In February, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners approved a new Comprehensive Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Greenways and Blueways (rivers & streams). The approved comprehensive plan calls for the county to develop park-specific plans, which will include plans to redevelop and upgrade two existing county parks.

The Parks & Recreation Department reports that that the planning effort will soon be underway for Earl Thompson Park in Bynum and Southwest District Park in Bear Creek, which are two of the oldest county parks located in different ends of the county.

Tracy Burnett, director of Chatham County Parks & Recreation, said, “The planning process will consider extensive community input, existing site conditions, and recreational needs in producing recommended concept designs for each park.”

The public is encouraged to attend input sessions slated for each park. People can stop by anytime during the two-hour period. Dates and times are:

  • Earl Thompson Park, Thursday, April 25, 6 PM to 8 PM, Bynum Ruritan Club, 28 Charlie Fields Rd. Pittsboro
  • Southwest District Park, Monday, April 29, 6 PM to 8 PM, Chatham Central High School Cafeteria, 14950 NC Hwy 902 West, Bear Creek.

The planning phase for each park will produce cost estimates, followed by efforts to secure funds and produce construction drawings for each park.

Burnett said that another priority from the new Comprehensive Master Plan is development of a countywide trails master plan. “We have that clearly on our radar, but several other steps must happen before we can begin that work. Stay tuned for information to come.”

The Parks & Recreation Department is exploring two other new strategies to help raise funds for park facilities. Burnett said, “We are drafting a policy covering naming rights for specific parks or park facilities and also are exploring some version of a ‘friends of the parks’ foundation. Both ideas are in the concept phase, but please contact us if you have any interest in donating funds for facilities or want to be involved in a new friends group for county parks.” Those who are interested in learning more can call 919-545-8550.

Burnett also reported continued progress with new facilities at the Park at Briar Chapel. This work includes installing a playground, grading the picnic shelter area, and staking out the new walking trail.