Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pittsboro's Pedestrian Plan is Available Online

The Pittsboro Pedestrian Transportation Plan is available online.  It's 98% complete and is expected to be adopted this spring.  The plan's vision statement:  

“Pittsboro’s vision is to develop a comprehensive and connected pedestrian network that provides safe access to homes, schools, workplaces, park and recreational facilities, and other important destinations as part of an active and walkable community. We envision children walking safely to school, seniors walking to nearby destinations, citizens moving safely in high traffic areas, tourists moving about community and downtown areas easily on foot, and motor vehicles driving at safe speeds in Pittsboro. Pittsboro’s goals and objectives will help guide town officials, staff, citizens, and other stakeholders to help make this vision a reality.”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Natural Playgrounds

Here's a plug for an inspiring blog about plaground design: Playscapes and an introduction to "natural playgrounds." From Playscapes:

"In general, natural playground spaces tend to be custom solutions that emphasize raw materials of wood, stone, and sand in combination with shaped earth forms. They often include elements of water play, and have more emphasis on planted material than a typical playground. They may feature elements for learning about the natural world, like bat houses or bug habitats, and the boundary between ‘playground’ and ‘garden’ or ‘nature trail’ is blurred. It should be noted that some landscape architects have always worked in these elements, without designating themselves specifically as ‘natural playground’ providers."

I look at it this way: natural playgrounds are the boxes that the expensive Christmas presents come in, you know, the boxes that the kids love playing with more than the toys? My kids spend hours in their sandbox, full of river rocks, pieces of wood for building, and surrounded by cool plants. They love the sassafras trunk built into their traditional wooden swing set. Mud and water, the hose on a fine mist setting, they're in heaven. Happy squealing kiddos.

The academics can give all the reasons why natural playgrounds foster creativity and healthy child development, but the happy squeals are a pretty good indicator of when it's done right.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tournaments bring in $500,000 in neighboring Alamance County, NC

A study shows that sports tournaments brought in over $500,000 to the economy of Alamance County last year. This looked at hotel bookings, food sales, the whole nine yards. Read the full article here: via News 14 Carolina.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tennis Anyone?

Left: Tennis player at McClenahan St. Tennis Courts.

Pittsboro's tennis courts are seeing a lot of use with the gorgeous weather of late. While taking photos I spoke with several people about the court conditions. While they were pleased with the court itself, and love the lights, they felt that a windscreen would help tremendously. This would block the wind, reduce glare from the sun, minimize traffic distractions and provide more privacy. Sounds compelling; I'll get some estimates.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

List of Parks in Pittsboro, NC

Dogwoods now in bloom at Town Lake Park.

The Town of Pittsboro currently has 3 parks/ recreation facilities.

  • Town Lake Park ~500 Old Goldston Rd. A 36 Acre Park with walking trails, a soccer field, a picnic shelter and fitness equipment/ swings.
  • Kiwanis Park at 309 Credle Street. A small playground for children under age 5.
  • McClenahan St. Tennis and Basketball Courts at the corner of McClenahan St. & Pittsboro Elementary School Rd. The Chatham County Parks and Recreation Deptartment handles programming at this facility, as they have the requiste staff.
Additionally, we rent the Community House, at 65 Thompson Street, a gorgeous 1930's stone structure for community events. We'll break ground on a New Town Park in the Powell Place development as early as June. That park is expected to have it's first phase completed before Christmas of 2009.

Most of the other parks in the area are run by the Chatham County Parks and Recreation Dept.
I may often pass on information about their events, or events by other organizations providing recreational opportunities, but the main purview of this blog is the Pittsboro Parks and Recreation System. Having said that, see sidebar links to our local YMCA, Chatham Soccer League and the County Parks and Recreation Department. All of these organizations provide great recreational opportunities.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Importance of Parks and Recreation

Photo courtesy of Jogging Tips.

Care to drink the parks and recreation kool-aide? Consider the following . . .

Parks make your town better
Parks and greenways improve quality of life. They make a place more attractive, increase interaction among neighbors, and provide a safe place for play.

Parks attract successful people and businesses
If you're a policy wonk: read driver of economic development via business attraction and retention.)
When I was in the consulting end of planning I worked on a large and lavishly funded economic development project in the eastern part of the state; I can't tell you how many stories I heard about CEO's wives not liking the area and sinking any possibility of corporate relocation. The truth is, those in the so called "creative class" often choose quality of life and recreational and cultural opportunities over salary or other traditional metrics. These folk are the drivers of the economy. Pittsboro has a lot to offer already, and an ambitious park system will enhance its attractiveness as a place to live. As such, parks are critical public infrastructure.

Parks increase your property value
The National Homebuilders Association claims that park and recreation areas may enhance the value of land up to 20%.

Parks help you live a healthier life
The exercise that parks and sidewalks encourage help us to live more vibrant and healthful lives. Exercise helps us fight obesity, chronic diseases, the effects of aging as well as lowering or medical expenses.

Parks are fun!
That's why the kids run for the playground as soon as you unbuckle them from the car seats!

Friday, April 17, 2009

YMCA Healthy Kids Day - Sunday April 26

If you have kiddos, you may want to check this out.  I hear there was a big crowd last year.  

The 3rd Annual Chatham YMCA Healthy Kids Day, will be held on Sunday April 26th from 1 PM-5PM at CampRoyall.  Camp Royall is located on at 250 Bill Ash Road just off of Pittsboro-Moncure Road. The event will feature:

Giant Inflatable Slide and Obstacle Course, Music, Fitness Challenges, Hula Hoops, Give-a-Ways, Line Dancing, Willie the Clown (Balloon Animals) Carnival Games, Paddle Boats, Face Painting, Crafts and Educational Info. 

From Chatham YMCA’s Bruce Murray: “YMCA Healthy Kids Day emphasizes regular physical activity, connecting with your local health agencies and making time to connect as a family. YMCA Healthy Kids Day includes free, fun and engaging activities for children and families and promotes year-long wellness and healthy living.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Playground in Goldston

Not exactly Pittsboro-centric, but Goldston is pretty close. There will be a new playground for kids under 5 opening in Goldston this Sunday, April 19th. The Ribbon Cutting Festivities will be held at the Curt Askins Memorial Park (Lower Field) from 2-4 PM.

The event will be hosted by the Chatham County Health Department who funded the playground through a Eat Smart Move More Community Grant.

Directions: From the courthouse take 64 W. Turn left at stoplight (87 and 64. ) Turn right on Pittsboro Goldston Rd. Road will end –Turn left on Main St. Turn right on Goldston-Glendon Rd. (First right after the gas station on left.) The park is on the left. 355 Goldston Glendon Rd

Thanks Gene

Thanks in no small part to Gene Galin of the Chatham Chatlist and the Chatham County Online BBS, this blog received about 100 hits today. He provides a great service to the community by enhancing local communication.

New Map/ Info Kiosk at Town Lake Park

A new kiosk was installed yesterday at the Diane Street entrance of Town Lake Park. It features two mosaics created by Pittsboro Elementary School students a number of years ago at a street fair. Local (Moncure, NC) mosaic artist Janice Rieves coordinated the children's mosaic work. Local (Bynum, NC) craftsman Luke Barrow of Rustic Garden Structures framed the mosaics and added an info kiosk which will house a map of the park. Pending possible grant funding, we plan on improving the parking lot at the Diane Street entrance and adding a number of benches, new trails and trash cans. We should know wether we'll receive the grant funding later this month, so keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pittsboro, NC Parks Survey Results - Top 10

As input for our ongoing parks and recreation master plan, citizens of Pittsboro and Chatham County were asked to rank in order of importance the top 10 facilites that could be developed in Chatham County. Results follow:

  1. Hiking Trails
  2. Jogging/ Walking Trails
  3. Bike Trails
  4. Open Space Natural Areas
  5. Indoor Swimming Pool
  6. Outdoor Playground
  7. Mountain Bike Trails
  8. Mult-Sport Complex
  9. Outdoor Swimming Pool
  10. Community Recreation Center

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Town Lake Park is still a Wi-Fi Hotspot

Town Lake Park - a new trail to this hidden spot is coming soon.

There was a recent post on the Chatham Chatlist mentioning that the wi-fi service at Town Lake Park was down. I checked with Blast Internet Services, the wi-fi provider, and discovered that all systems are go. The service must have been shut down for a short period while the chatlist poster was there.

The New Town Park at Powell Place will be a wi-fi hotspot too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Volunteers Welcome at Town Lake Park Clean-Up

Vista at Town Lake Park (click thumbnail to see full panorama)

On April 17th there will be a Park Clean-Up at the Town Lake Park. We'll gladly welcome any volunteers who can help with picking up trash, moving rocks, clearing out invasive privet and having a nice cookout for lunch. Please bring your own clippers or other shrub clearing tools.

Yes, April 17th is on a Friday. We chose this date to best accommodate a community outreach program for our police department. They'll be serving as mentors for a handful of adjudicated youths, who'll be helping with the clean-up, and a weekday best fit their schedule. We can always do this again on a weekend if there's enough interest.

We envision this being an all day affair, so stop by anytime between 9 am and 3:00. The cookout will be held at noon at the picnic shelter. The park is located just south of Al's Diner on 902/ Old Goldston Highway, on the left hand side of the road if you're heading south.

Blog Launch

The Champagne bottle has crashed against the hull of my kayak. The Pittsboro Parks Blog is now officially launched. This will be the best place to keep up with events and general information about the Pittsboro NC Park System.
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