Parks department must do better
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
The recent purchase by the city of the “Big Splash” property on U.S. 264 by the Tar River is indeed good news. The 163 acres is intended to “create a park focused on river and lake-based recreational activities,” something sorely needed in Greenville. The property includes a large lake which is anticipated to have “canoe and kayaking access within the lake and providing a direct connection to the river.” All of these functions are definitely needed in our community.
Now the bad news. The responsible agency for the park’s development will be the Greenville Recreation and Parks Department, a department not known for its recreational management, long-term vision or speed in getting parks operational. How do I know?
Well, I am now familiar with the 225-acre Phil Carroll Nature Preserve on the west side of town, which was gifted to the city by Phil Carroll as a nature reserve 12 years ago. In the 12 years since it has been in the city, the only thing done by Recreation and Parks was to put up a gate limiting access to the nature park. Nobody can enter the preserve because, I am told, “Recreation and Parks isn’t doing any management of the facility.” Through the efforts of the mayor and the assistant city manager, Michael Cowen, I visited the preserve and found a totally neglected but wonderful lake and nature trail that the citizens cannot access.
At one time I was a member of the Recreation and Parks Commission but I found it to be a very unproductive. I wonder if they are aware of this wonderful unused and neglected nature park. Certainly the commission should be more actively involved in this new land and lake, and the new facility should be treated more appropriately than the Phil Carroll park.
Terrence M. Boardman