Parks, recreation open space master plan accepted

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

For the last meeting of at least two Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee members, the Open Space Master Plan was approved on Monday, Jan. 7.

Five of the committee members voted in favor of approving the plan, contingent upon grammar, punctuation and other minor changes, with committee chairman Greg Files abstaining from the vote.

Program supervisor Katie Ryan said she would edit commas, periods and other errors found by committee members before sending the draft of the plan back to Dr. Jim Herstine for completion.

The decision to approve the plan came after members once again debated the substance of the plan.

During an argument about the order of the list of public wants, Layne Smith said she was ready to vote on the plan after spending four meetings talking about it at length.

“I think that we have hashed it out enough at this point that we need to put it out for a vote,” she said, making a motion seconded by Kim Wilt.

Earlier, Kitty Brunjes reiterated former comments made by absentee member Martha Chaffins about the emphasis placed on community input, saying the numbers are not representative of the people who actually attended the public meetings.

Ryan said attendance at public meetings was disappointing, but comments made should still be included in the plan, whether one person made the comment or 1,000 people.

A survey sent out in January 2012 yielded 544 respondents, making up 20 percent of Wrightsville Beach property owners.

“People want the tennis courts lighted, and they’re still not lighted,” Smith said about the previous plan, adding that it is the obligation of committee members to put forward the plan and start working toward items included in the plan.

Committee members moved green space to the top of the list of public wants because that and bike paths showed the most interest in the percentage charts from the survey. They also decided to refer readers to page 51 to review the survey results for figures that accompany the list.

Brunjes said the diligence of the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen to read through the plan in its entirety is necessary so people do not choose bits and pieces to pull out in future meetings as support for or against a particular item. Examples that have surfaced repeatedly include the possibility of a dog park or the highly contended skateboard park discussion.

Once finalized, the plan will go before the BOA for approval.

In other news, the Wrightsville Beach Foundation donated three bicycle racks to be spread throughout town.

The deadline for committee member applications was Wednesday, Jan. 9. Both Smith and fellow members Jim Mincher have selected not to seek reappointment.

Read the previous Parks and Recreation story here: http://bit.ly/U8XSmr

email kelly@luminanews.com 


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