May 16, 2019 

Chatham Residents Invited to Provide Feedback on Concept Design Plans for Two Parks

PITTSBORO, NC –  Chatham County Parks & Recreation announces that it is in the final stages of developing long-term master park plans for two county parks, Earl Thompson Park in Bynum and Southwest Park in Bear Creek.  The public is invited to attend final open houses in early June to provide feedback on the concept design plan for each park.

 The county’s new Comprehensive Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Greenways and Blueways calls for developing park master plans for all county parks. Earl Thompson Park and Southwest Park are the first to go through this planning process. 

 The concept design plans for each park were drafted after public input meetings in April.  Residents can provide feedback on the concept plans at open houses on the following dates:

  • Southwest Park Concept Plan:  Tuesday, June 4, 2019, Chatham Central High School, 14950 NC-902, Bear Creek.  Stop by anytime between 6 PM to 8 PM

  • Earl Thompson Park Concept Plan: Thursday, June 6, 2019, Bynum Ruritan Club, 28 Charlie Fields Rd, Pittsboro. Stop by anytime between 6 PM to 8 PM


Public Input for Park-Specific Master Plans for Earl Thompson Park and Southwest District Park

Click Here for details


Chatham Seeks Community Input on the Redevelopment of Two County Parks

April 2, 2019 

PITTSBORO, NC – In February, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners approved the Comprehensive Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Greenways and Blueways (rivers). 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.


2019 Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Master Plan Approved and Adopted February 18, 2019

The Comprehensive Master Plan was approved and adopted at the Board of Commissioners meeting on February 18, 2019.  Click Here to view the final report.


Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan Update as of February 14, 2019

The Final Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan will be presented at the Board of Commissioners meeting on February 18, 2019.  The link to the final approved Master Plan will be posted here later that week.  


2019 Chatham County Parks and Recreation Master Plan Survey Final Findings

 Click Here


Public Invited to Comment on Chatham’s Draft Master Plan for Parks & Recreation


PITTSBORO, NC – The Chatham County Parks & Recreation Department reports that substantial progress has been made in developing an updated comprehensive master plan for parks, recreation and greenways. Several opportunities are coming up for county residents to provide feedback on a draft of the plan. 


“Consultants from McAdams developed a draft master plan following several public input processes, a review of recreation trends, and an inventory of existing parks, programs and greenways in Chatham County,” said Tracy Burnett, county director of parks and recreation. “The draft includes recommendations for park improvements, programs, greenways, operations, finance and health and wellness.”


Residents are invited to stop by an open house where the draft master plan will be available for review and feedback. The open house is slated for Tuesday, December 11, from 5:30-7:30 PM at the Chatham County Agricultural and Conference Center, located about two miles west of Pittsboro at 1192 US 64 Business. The public can stop by anytime during the two-hour period.


A second opportunity to provide feedback will occur later in December, when an updated, complete draft of the master plan is posted at Residents will be asked to offer comments.


Public feedback will help shape the final version that will be considered for adoption by the Board of Commissioners.


McAdams facilitated a one-day visioning work session on September 12, 2018 with Parks and Recreation staff to defelop the deaprtment's vision and mission for the future.

  Visioning meeting 9-12-18

Upcoming Master Plan Meetings to Remember

  • September 12, 2018: Visioning meeting with staff

  • December 4, 2018: Draft recommendations presentation to staff

  • December 4, 2018: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Draft presentation to Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee at the Agriculture & Conference Center

  • December 11, 2018: Presentation to steering committee

  • December 11, 2018: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Public meeting presentation at the Agriculture & Conference Center

  • December 17, 2018: Master Plan presentation to go before the Board of Commissioners

  • January 22, 2019: Final Master Plan presentation to go before Board of Commissioners


Comprehensive Plan Update as of July 13, 2018

The consultants are working on a draft reports for the following items:

Park inventory + Analysis

Program assessment

Demographics and trends

Staffing + internal operations assessment

Pro-bono benchmarking (based on readily available NRPA data) for communities of comparable size

Park Classifications 


Community Input Synthesis Map:  Click Here

The map represents all input gathered through the three public open house meetings and reflects preferences with regard to greenway corridors and destinations.


Greenway/Trail Stakeholder Flyer:  Click Here

Specific groups have been invited to this meeting, but the general public is welcome to attend.  The meeting is designed to get input on trails and greenways as part of the planning process for the Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Master Plan under development. 


Trails/Greenways Stakeholders Meeting on June 20, 2018

6-20-18 Stakeholders Meeting-2    6-20-18 Meeting Pic 2    6-20-18 Meeting Pic 3


Comprehensive Plan Update as of May 17, 2018

Kick‐off Meeting

The project team has completed the project kick‐off meeting with staff along with site visits to existing parks owned and operated Chatham County Parks & Recreation. 

Demographics & Trends

The project team is in the process of completing the Demographics and Trends Analysis and expects to to deliver the draft report by the end of May.

Site Inventory & Analysis and GIS Mapping

The project team is in the process of completing the park evaluations and expects to deliver the park assessment report by the end of May. 

 A base map of existing conditions (waterways, geography, physical features, infrastructure, cultural & recreation sites, populations centers & destination, and future land use areas) for parks and greenways has been prepared and has been used at the public input meetings to date.

The base map will serve as the data used for the remainder of the plan and plan recommendations. 

Community Engagement 

The team has facilitated the first three public open houses and had a very good turnout. The team has provided meeting summaries and finds for each. The team has also conducted an inter‐agency coordination meeting, thestaff SWOT analysis meeting, one steering committee meeting and a status presentation to the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. The team is in the process of summarizing those meetings and will send meeting summaries by the end of May. A separate stakeholder meeting for greenways will be held on May 30th.

Scientific Survey

The team has prepared a draft scientific survey for the County’s review. Based on comments received from the County, the team is in the process of address the comments to finalize the survey questionnaire. Once approved by the County, the survey will be ready for distribution. We expect the survey to be finalized by the end of May. Once the survey has been distributed, the county can expect results within approximately six (6) weeks. 

Health Assessment

The team met with the Chatham County Health Alliance on April third to solicit input on the best way parks and recreation can contribute to improved health outcomes across the county. The feedback will be incorporated intothe Health Assessment component of the plan.

Program Assessment

The team will be scheduling a webinar with the County to introduce the components of the program assessment. The county will be responsible for completing the program questionnaire as a basis for the program assessment.

Additional Tasks

The team is in the process of gathering inventory data from the County and her agencies to complete the existing level of service metrics and will be developing a bench marking report from NRPA best practices for comparable size agencies.  Once the scientific survey results have been finalized, existing level of service established, and information analyzed from community and staff input, the team will conduct a visioning session with County Staff.  We anticipate the visioning session will be scheduled in mid-August.  The visioning session will provide the framework for the county's parks, recreation and greenway recommendation for ten-year planning horizon.


McAdams Presents the Master Plan Update and Input Session at the Recreation Advisory Committee Meeting on May 15, 2018.

Picture2 Adv Meeting     Picture1 Adv Meeting


We had a great turnout for our last Open House at Silk Hope Elementary School on May 1, 2018.

Picture 5-1-18






Another great turnout for our second Open House held at Chatham Central High School on April 26, 2018.

Picture 4-26-18







First Open House on April 24, 2018 

We had great turnout at the first Open House for the public on April 24 at the Agriculture & Conference Center.

Picture1 4-24-18       Picture2 4-24-18

Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan
group discussion with Chatham Health Alliance

Pic 2Pic 4