Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 Street Fair Recap

Pittsboro was blessed with perfect weather for this event for the first time in many years.  The bands were great, the food was terrific and lots of people were out to enjoy the day.  Lest you think you're still recovering from Shakori Hills, the photos were filtered with photoshop to make them a bit more festive.  
Balloons galore

Yours truly and members of the Pittsboro Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PARAB) manned a booth at the event where we revealed the hot off the press DRAFT master plan for Southern Park, showed a system map of all of our parks and proposed greenways, master plans of some of our facilities and gathered survey data to find out what type of facilities people want most.  

Vibrant street scene
We took a citizen's suggestion and created an email list for Friends of the Parks.  They'll get direct emails regarding any parks news, meetings, or events.  Thanks to all the PARAB members who helped staff the booth!  Look for future posts on how to join the Friends of the Parks email list.  

Dolphin free, organic, free range corn dogs and funnel cakes
We received a lot of positive feedback, but it was also clear that a lot of residents were not aware of some of our great parks; not everyone reads the parks blog.  I know, it's hard to believe that not everyone reads every post of this fine publication isn't it.?  Better signage and increased outreach will certainly help people find the parks. 

A visit from the Tooth Fairy
Having the Parks Booth at the street fair was definitely worthwhile.  I'm confident that we inspired a lot of people to visit Pittsboro's parks, shared information about what's going on now (mostly the development of Southern Park) and listened to citizens expressing their vision of a town filled with high quality parks, greenways, blueways,  sidewalks  and bike paths linking key destinations.  

Long lines for Ubi the Clown throughout the day
Birdhouse Vendor

DRAFT Plan for Southern Park

The DRAFT Master Plan for Southern Park is Available Below for Review & Public Comment.  Submit comments to the blog or better yet, come to the public meeting for this purpose to be held Thursday October 28, 2010 at 7 PM in the Pittsboro Town Hall.  

Currently only the northernmost half of the park is funded, but the park is being planned in its entirety now.  Proposed features include Mountain Biking and Hiking Trails, a Dog Park, Regulation Sized Soccer Field, Disc Golf, Futsal Court, Picnic Shelters/ Tables, a very small Woodland Amphitheater, Playgrounds and Restrooms/ Concession Stand. 

This plan was shown at the street fair this weekend and received tons of positive feedback.  The mountain biking trials, hiking trails, dog park and undisturbed mature forest seemed to be the most popular elements.     

Note the new "Interactive Parks Map" Tab under the Pittsboro Parks Blog Banner.  This map provides locational information for this and all of your other Pittsboro Parks.  
Click Plan above for a larger image.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Parks for Crime Prevention

Did you know that it costs taxpayers $262 per day to incarcerate one juvenile in North Carolina? That's $95,635 per year. Alternatively this could fund scholarships for:
  • Swimming Lessons for every student at Pittsboro Elementary School - a series of eight 30 minute classes
  • Youth Basketball play for every student of Pittsboro Elementary School and for every student at Horton Middle School - 5 months of play - practices and games
  • Girls Lacrosse Development League play 1 month for 100 girls
  • Youth Soccer CSL U6 Division play 2 months for 100 kids
  • Tennis Lessons by John Delafield for 100 kids
  • T-Ball for 2 months of play for 50 kids 
  • Art Classes for 100 Students via One Stroke Art
  • Summer Camp 1 week for 10 kids at the YMCA's Camp Wannago
  • Clydefest Admission for every kid at Pittsboro Elementary School

There would still be $8,092 left over.  

Here's a link to an article detailing how: "After-school programs alter lives of at-risk youth: park and recreation-sponsored programming is effective in reducing crime and educating children."

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." - Ben Franklin

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Public Input Sought for Southern Park

A public meeting to seek input on the future development of Pittsboro's proposed Southern Park will be held at the Pittsboro Town Hall on October the 28th at 7:00PM. The park will be located near the intersection of 15-501 South and Charlie Brooks Road, about 3 miles south of town. The parkland contains over 50 acres of rolling hills, mostly covered in hardwoods. It's a great piece of land.

One of several beautiful rock outcroppings on the parkland.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2010 Pittsboro Fall Street Fair - Oct. 23

The 2010 Fall Street Fair will be held on Saturday, October 23rd from 10AM till 5:00PM. There is no rain date.
Leaves of artist Andy Goldsworthy

Sister's Voice @ 10:00 AM
Russell Bluegrass Band @ 10:10-11:10AM
Frizz Wheel @ 11:15AM -12:20PM
The Castaways @ 12:30 -2:00PM
The Mighty Sanfordaires @ 2:15PM - 3:15PM
Big Time Party Band @ 3:30PM - 5:00PM

Kids Events:
John the Balloon Man
Gary the Magician
Bouncy House, Slide and Velcro Wall

Blacksmithing Demonstrations
Craft Vendors, Food Vendors & More

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Many Thanks to the Barber Holmes Families

"When the Holmes family was negotiating with East West Partners about turning their property into a mixed-use development, their first thought could have been, 'well, how much profit can we make from this transaction?' but that was not their first thought. Their first thought was, 'how can we find some way to give back to the community?' The result was that the family insisted that a portion of the land be donated to a public purpose."

These are the elegant words of Bill Terry, Pittsboro's Town Manager, at the opening ceremony of the Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park. He continued, "The park's namesake, Mary Holmes, who died two years ago, was someone who loved the out of doors. So while she's no longer with us, I think the end result would have been very pleasing to her - so we owe a great debt of gratitude to her and the entire extended Barber Holmes family for their forethought in making sure that Pittsboro ended up with this beautiful park facility."

I ran into one of the prime organizers with the Friends of the Library recently, and he mentioned how glad he was that we named the park after Mary Holmes. He said that without her influence and excitement about that cause, he never would have gotten involved. Mind you this is a real mover and shaker, someone who's largely responsible for the great work that the Friends of the Library continues to do. What a loss to our community if he had not have gotten involved. While I never had the pleasure of making her acquaintance, after hearing so many community members share equally inspiring stories about Mary Holmes, I'm really pleased that the park bears her name.

Extended Barber Holmes Family in attendance at the park opening. Photo courtesy of Bill Wilcox of the Chatham Record. (Thank you Bill, this is a great photo) Ed Holmes, Mary's husband, on the far left, Wade Barber, her brother, to Ed's right.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kudos for the Chatham County Library

Kudos to everyone associated with the creation of the beautiful new Chatham County Library. It will be doubtless be a source of community pride for many years to come. Kudos to the vision of the Chatham County Commissioners and Staff, Friends of the Library and Cherry Huffman Architects as well as the countless other contributors I’m invariably leaving out. It’s great to see public investment in quality architecture and design.

This building will last a very long time and continue to reflect the attitudes and values of the community, potentially for generations. An airplane hanger type building would have been a lot cheaper in the short run, but a beautiful and well thought out LEED Gold building such as this will prove to be a much better long term investment--in the obvious way, such as lower life-cycle costs such as heating and cooling, useful lifespan, etc. But more importantly, a beautiful building has inherent value, inspiring its inhabitants and visitors to be better and more sociable people.

Elderly citizens will visit from the Council of Aging building nearby, children will gather for story time, professionals will run in on their lunch hours to drop off books, retirees may linger to read periodicals, CCCC students will come in for research or to go online. This will truly be a community gathering place we can all be very proud of and enjoy.

Library exterior the night of its opening, the event tent is still visible. The landscaping is on the way; it should make the campus more cohesive and will include a much needed central courtyard, as I recall.

Here's the library interior the afternoon of the ribbon cutting. Natural lighting bathes the space.
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