The last time a master parks and recreational plan was developed was in 2006. It was a joint document at that time and will be done that way again. The demographics and population of Lincoln County have changed considerably since then. The parks and recreation departments for Lincoln County and the City of Lincolnton are currently developing a joint parks and recreation master plan for improving and further developing recreation opportunities for all residents of the county and city.
“We were past due and ready to update the master plan,” John Davis, the director of the Lincoln County Parks and Recreational Department said. “In that process we made the decision to do this jointly again for several reasons. It allows us a little bit of cost savings by not duplicating a lot of the data collection and surveying. It also allows us the opportunity to continue to build the relationship between the city and the county as far as programs and maybe facilities down the line.”
It’s not uncommon for counties and municipalities to combine efforts in formulating recreation plans, Davis added.
“In the end, the 2006 master plan will be updated into two separate documents that will function together,” he said. “If the master plan says that X, Y and Z are needed in the county, it might be that the city is able to provide that or the county does. It’ll help us to make sure there isn’t a lot of duplication of services.”
McGill Associates was hired by the city and county to prepare a new master plan. The first step is a survey and assessment of community recreational needs. Once public input has been reviewed, McGill Associates will provide recommendations and conduct focus group interviews with various entitles within the county such as sports associations, the health department, merchants associations and optimist clubs.
“Surveys have already been conducted of existing facilities and programs, what could be improved and what renovations are possible,” Davis said. “Now we’re in the community input phase. The survey will remain open for as long as the consulting firm wants it to be.”
Normally, a master plan would be updated within eight to ten years, according to Nathan Eurey, the City of Lincolnton Parks and Recreation director. The county and city have been operating based on newsletters and trends in the recreational facility to help guide programs and facilities. First Federal Park and the new dog park in the city as well as Rescue Squad Park that was done in conjunction with Denver/Lake Norman Rotary and the upcoming Westwinds Park near the new west Lincoln library are examples of these recent additions.
“We’ve had to make amendments and work outside of the master plan over the past couple of years,” Davis said. “This will also allow the city and county to be competitive on the state grant side of things to help fund new facilities and parks. That’s another big piece of why this master plan is important. The final document will also give us justification on prioritizing budget needs.”
In aid in development a new master plan, residents of the county are asked to complete an online survey to help make decisions on what recreational facilities to plan for. The survey can be filled out online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/comprecplansurvey. If an individual doesn’t have Internet access, they can go to either the city or the county recreational department office and ask for the survey to be printed out and it can be completed by hand.