DAVIDSON —  Residents have the chance to weigh in on Davidson's potential parks, greenway and recreation initiatives as the town prepares to update its Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

Town staff host a public forum at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 in Davidson Town Hall, 216 S. Main St., for residents to suggest areas of improvement for sidewalks, bike paths, greenways, connected streets, transit and the recreational and cultural learning opportunities.

“We as professionals can say what the trends are and what we see as community residents, but the most wonderful thing about public parks and recreation is that it’s a collaborative effort,” said Parks and Recreation Manager Kathryn Spatz. “And so we need everyone’s voice.”

The forum includes a brief presentation, but the focus is for staff and the Charlotte-based LandDesign consultants to hear opinions about whether people want more active improved space, including more athletic fields or playgrounds.

“A slew of things could happen — there could be a splash park, but of course there are dollars associated with every one of those things,” Spatz said. “We want to know where people’s values are.”

“We want people to come even if they are saying we have enough parks," she added. "We need to hear that.” 

The master plan steering committee has also been conducting meetings with key interest groups in parks and recreation, such as those involved with land conservancy, schools, youth baseball, bikers and dog park enthusiasts.

LandDesign will use the feedback to complete a parks, recreation, open space and trails needs assessment. The goal is to have consultants return by April to present their findings before a proposed master plan goes to department heads and boards prior to commissioner approval. Staff hope to have the plan approved by the end of June.

“We hope to get out not only a big picture vision, but also a strategic plan that is realistic of what we can accomplish,” Spatz said.

While the document serves as a guide, it won’t necessarily all come to fruition. The current plan, passed in 1999 to go through 2010, has projects centered around a 2008 park bond for a proposed community center in downtown in conjunction with the IB school, which closed in 2011. Since that didn’t happen, the plan will be revamped.

“We’ll start with plan adopted, take into account things that couldn’t happen, didn’t happen, and then there are a couple key plans not specific to parks and recreation, but have impact on us,” Spatz said.

Those include the recent Davidson Walks and Rolls Initiative and the Davidson Comprehensive plan of 2010, both of which emphasize holistic health for the community. The county’s parks and recreation master plan, which is currently in revision, is also considered.

Town master plans give an overview of potential projects and are supposed to be updated every 10 years. They are also used for grant applications and to help in regional planning.

“Typical parks and recreation master plans looks at national plan and how their community relates to those standards,” Spatz said. “I argue those standards — every community is very different in terms of values. Davidson has historically promoted preservation of open space. So with resources, that’s how the community has chosen to use them.”


Want to go? The Town of Davidson will host a public forum at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 in Davidson Town Hall, 216 S. Main St., before the town updates its Parks and Recreation Master Plan.