DAVIDSON – A variety of recommendations are being taken into account for the future of the town’s parks and open space areas, including helping bees and butterflies thrive. 

During an open house on May 1 to continue discussing what should be included in the town’s updated parks and recreation master plan, one of the items recommended is looking at open spaces throughout town to see if they are applicable to plant wildflowers that attract butterflies and bees for pollination, said Parks and Recreation Manager Kathryn Spatz.

Also recommended that evening was to ensure athletic fields cater to more than simply the players.

“We want to make sure we have amenities for the families, like a playground near the athletic fields for brothers and sisters, and benches,” Spatz said.

Beth Poovey, of project consultant LandDesign, presented the company's findings based on suggestions by participants of a February open house as well as other stakeholders. Attendees were then asked May 1 to further categorize those recommendations by prioritizing their top three items. Online surveys available on the town’s website are also being accepted through May 8.

Results will be compiled to form the recommended master plan that is scheduled for presentation to Davidson commissioners July 8.

Though making room for open space is sometimes a difficulty for communities, it isn’t in Davidson. Poovey said it is recommended to have 16 acres of open space for every 1,000 people. Currently, she said, Davidson has 77 acres available per 1,000 people. But the master plan will look at how the land is being used and if it is meeting residents’ needs.

“We are really looking at the seven dimensions of health and looking at how they can best be met through the parks and rec plan,” Poovey said.

Some of the top priorities listed so far have been for greenways/trails, tennis courts and closer access with shorter travel times to recreational areas. They also want a better balance of active recreational facilities versus more natural.

Recreational facilities like the athletic courts were one of the top priorites, and Poovey said they are considering how the town and other other partnerships can make that happen. They are also looking as Mecklenburg County’s parks plan that is also being updated to make sure it is in line with Davidson’s goals and see how the town can benefit from their plans, like a potential recreation center in the northern part of the county. Connectivity of the bike and pedestrian paths has also been a concern. Another recommendation was to expand the farmers' market.

Jeff Rose, who recently moved to Davidson, said he hoped private and public entities could partner to provide better lake access, which has also been listed as high priority.

While there are a lot of suggestions of what the town needs, Spatz said, they are still missing the layer that determines where they should go.

During the presentation, one resident spoke up stating that they needed to provide activities for the west side of the town.

“We pay taxes on the west side, but don’t have anything,” the resident stated.

The Parks and Recreation Master Plan serves as a guideline for how the town should proceed within the next 10 years. It is used as a building block to the town’s other plans, Spatz said. The documents outlines potential needs and prospective uses, but does not include how to go about getting them such as funding.