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Parks and recreation to take center stage in April workshops

Bill Greer watches as participants compete in a horseshoe tournament at Ralph Stout (left) and eleven year old Mason Sluder tries out the park’s pump track. Johnson County and Mountain City are developing a 10-year Parks and Recreation plan to determine what improvements are needed for existing facilities and to help plan new ones. File photos.

Contributed by Bryan Hill

Johnson County, in partnership with Mountain City, is currently developing a 10-year Parks and Recreation plan.

“The goal of the process,” says Mayor Taylor, “is to determine what improvements need to be made to our existing parks and recreation facilities and programs as well as hear from our citizens what new facilities and programs should be considered for the future.” 

Input from the public is an important part of these plans. Over the last several months, surveys were collected throughout the County to understand how residents use existing parks, what parks and programs are working well, and what improvements the public would like to see. In total, more than 250 survey responses were collected.  

Officials also evaluated the condition of all of the county’s existing parks. Public workshops will be held in the coming months. These workshops will present the information collected from the surveys and the park evaluations’ findings. They will also include guided discussion on what other parks and recreation facilities are needed. 

“We need to keep our eyes open to the future and plan for the county’s growth and improve the park and recreation assets we already have,” Taylor said. “I encourage each household in the county to take advantage of the opportunity to let local officials know what you would like to see improved at existing parks and what new facilities and programs should be planned for the future.” 

Taylor further added that public participation is essential for pursuing state and federal grants for funding future improvements.

“There are grants available to cities and counties for park and recreation improvements, but they are limited and are very competitive,” he said. “The more public participation we have in the process, the better our chances for our local governments to compete for those limited resources.”

Public Workshops have been scheduled for April 15, at 5 p.m., and May 4, at 5 p.m.  Due to ongoing concerns from COVID-19, public workshops will be held as online video-based meetings. The Mayor encourages all households that can participate. Links to join these meetings will be available on County and City websites.

The planning process should be complete by early summer and will result in a 10-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan adopted by Johnson County and Mountain City. If you have any questions about the plan or public workshops, please contact Beth Cox, executive assistant. We look forward to hearing from you.