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Forsyth County parks department planning for future

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County park officials held three public input meetings last week that gave residents a chance to weigh in on the department’s future.

Leading up to the meetings, director Jim Pryor said consultants had met with local stake holders and focus groups and toured the properties as part of an update to the parks’ master plan. The next step will be a randomly selected survey sent to residents.

“Recreation means a little bit something different to everybody,” Pryor said. “When people come to these meetings, they pretty much have in mind what they want. We’re looking to gauge do we have what they want already, and if not to what level do we need it.”

During the meetings, several boards were established for input, including one that allowed attendees to place one color of stickers for amenities they use, and a limited number of other colored stickers for what they would like to see expanded or added.

The first of the input meetings was held Tuesday at Central Park, with the others on Wednesday at Midway and Old Atlanta parks.

Derek Williams, vice president of Charlotte-based engineering firm Benesch, said the process is necessary to keep up with changing tastes.

“We are updating a plan that was done in 2012,” he said. “There’s been so much change in this county, it’s growing so rapidly, and also there’s been changes in recreation trends.

“For example, a lot of folks here tonight are talking about pickleball. I bet in 2012 there weren’t a lot of people talking about pickleball.”

Tom Woods, who attended a meeting, said he is among those who play pickleball, a net game that uses wooden paddles.

“It was good to be able to give them some input, because we have special interests, of course, like everybody does,” “We like to see the playgrounds in good shape, we like pickleball opportunities. We like the gym facilities and the indoor walking court.

“We were very happy to come and support those things and give them input that we would like to see those things continued and expanded.”

Other suggestions receiving significant attention are expanding amenities for biking and adding more walking trails and facilities for arts and performances.