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New director pitches plan for Forsyth County parks department
Fowler Park, which has an area for skateboarding, is among the many attractions in the Forsyth County parks system. - photo by FCN file photo

FORSYTH COUNTY — Jim Pryor took over in October as the new director of Forsyth County’s parks and recreation department.

At the time, he said he would use his first 100 days to take in the local parks and facilities and put together a plan for the future.

Tuesday night, Pryor gave the parks board a condensed version of the more than three-hour presentation he shared with county administrators.

“I have a lot of recommendations of things that I’ve seen, but generally it’s a solid organization. I love the history of it,” he said. “There’s been hard work by many in this department to make it what it is today.

“What I’m trying to do is look at the department as far as what we have now and what we do compared to a model parks and recreation agency.”

Pryor went over several ideas to improve local parks and generate revenue for the department without raising fees for residents.

Among the financial possibilities is potentially building a park specifically for playing host to youth travel baseball tournaments.

“We always have that balance of if we run a tournament we close our parks down to our residents. Where does that balance strike,” Pryor said. “I can tell you that the tournament-hosting business is big money … We actually have the facilities and resources here to be a big player in that market, if we want to be.

“We might want to develop tournament-ready facilities that we do nothing but host tournaments and generate economic impact with.”

Pryor also said he would look into slightly reshaping some aspects of the department to improve efficiency. In addition, he would like to see the parks strive for national recognition.

“There’s 138 agencies nationally accredited right now nationwide. There’s 10 in the state of Georgia,” he said. “We have all the talent and the ability to be nationally accredited and being one of those model agencies.

“It’s just a matter of going through and putting some things together and creating some of those policies.”

Overall Pryor said he was honored to work in Forsyth and looked forward to the department reaching its full potential.

“This is everything that I thought it would be and even more,” he added. “I get more excited by the week that I made the right decision to be here.”