Skate park talk raises concerns during master plan discussion

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Members of the Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee went page-by-page through the majority of the Parks and Recreation Open Space Master Plan on Monday, Nov. 5, to make changes to the living document draft with 122 pages.

Much of the conversation centered around the inclusion of a skateboard park in the plan.

Martha Chaffins, committee member and skateboard park opponent, expressed concerns about the topic several times during the discussion. She said she does not support the possibility of a skateboard park in town that would put kids at risk and violate the green space. She also said she does not want the plan to be written as if a skate park is supported by the committee.

“You’re not recommending a skate park by recommending this plan,” said Katie Ryan, parks and recreation program supervisor.

Ryan also said the meat of the plan is in the survey, not the preceding pages of the plan.

Dr. Jim Herstine, a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington who was contracted to create the plan, told the committee that taking out minute details could remove other unforeseeable things in the next five years.

“I never want to handcuff you in the future if you do decide you want to do it,” Herstine said. “… If it’s not in the plan, it doesn’t have much of a chance of happening.”

Herstine and Ryan said they would work on the plan in the coming weeks and make changes before emailing an updated draft to committee members.

During the regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 3, the committee will revise the goals and objectives.

The process began almost a year ago with a survey sent out in January 2012. The 544 respondents answered questions about what they would like to see in town during the next five years.

The earliest the plan would be submitted to the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen is in January 2013.

Ryan said the plan is only a $5,000 plan compared to similar plans in the other local municipalities ranging from $30,000 to $100,000. The cost to create the previous master plan was $2,500. With that as a tool, the town received an $110,000 grant.

“One of the questions in a lot of the grants is do we have a master plan?” Ryan said.

Before the in-depth plan discussion, the board motioned unanimously to make a recommendation to the BOA to move the farmers’ market to the municipal complex in front of the old fire station per the location request of market manager Angela Cannon.

The incurred cost to the town would be about $800.

A workshop for the Wrightsville Beach Comprehensive Transportation Plan will be held from 5-7 p.m. at town hall on Thursday, Nov. 15.

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