By Heather Wood
The past year has been an exciting period of change for the Kernersville Parks and Recreation Department—and its staff has done an admirable job at keeping up! The Kernersville Parks and Recreation Department has made several changes to existing parks and park structures, which reflect the mission of the Department by continuously striving to improve the quality of life and safety for our citizens.
The Fourth of July Park is Kernersville’s most frequented park, and hosts numerous events and gatherings throughout the year. Due to aging and the safety of existing shelters on the Bodenhamer St. side of the park, Shelters #2 and #3 have been completely renovated and are ready for the spring rental season.
The Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex has received many improvements as well. If you have visited the park recently, you may have noticed the streets are much brighter; thanks to newly installed street lighting. The top parking lot within the park is now paved and includes beautifully landscaped parking islands. The temporary fencing around the Cross Country course has also been replaced with permanent fencing that matches perfectly with the existing fencing along the ballfield. In early 2016, the courtyard area between the baseball/softball fields will be renovated. The renovation will pay homage to Kernersville tradition by resurfacing the courtyard with an elegant pattern of brick pavers. A fresh new Dog Park with alternative features will also be included in the improvement plan.
Heading into 2016, one of the most important components to help meet our departmental objectives is our Master Plan. This plan was constructed through several public meetings and other avenues in order to gather the information and data needed to address the current and future recreational needs of our citizens. As a result of these findings, Kernersville Parks and Recreation Department will be proposing a general obligation bond package for the November 2016 election. The proposed projects will include the completion of Ivey M. Redmon Sports complex, a Recreation Center, and the renovation of Civitan Park.
While Kernersville Parks and Recreation currently serves our citizens out of the facility at 125 E. Bodenhamer St., our community programming and special event needs have quickly outgrown its four walls. This facility faces several challenges, including lack of classroom space, and an inability to host special and indoor athletic events due to its small size, location, lack of parking, and full ADA accessibility. The need for a recreation center has been well documented for over 40 years and has done nothing but increase! Clear proof of this is evident in the Kernersville 20/20 Plan, the 2002 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and again in the updated 2012 version, with public responses ranking it even higher than 2002!
The second project is the completion of the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex—formally known as Beeson Road Park. The park contains a total of 103 acres of land, with only 26 acres currently developed. The Kernersville Soccer Association and the Kernersville Parks and Recreation Adult Softball League call this park home. In addition, it regularly produces a large amount of positive economic impact via tourism each year through tournament rentals. The growth of youth and adult sports teams, and the diversity of these sports, have resulted in an incredible demand for field space. The completion of this project will play a major role in the continued future success of Kernersville community athletics, and will also ease the demand of field space and parking issues that currently exist.
Lastly, the final project proposed is the renovation of Civitan Park, located at 309 Nelson St. Civitan Park may be small in size, but was actually highly used in its prime years. (“Was” being the key-term in the previous sentence.) The park has not aged gracefully and in some degrees, is deemed unsuitable for activities such as tennis, basketball, or even walking! While it is great to build new parks and preserve green space, it is equally important to renovate the parks we currently have. We strive to focus on the original intent of Civitan Park, which is to appropriately serve the community needs. The renovation of the park will include several new amenities, while simultaneously improving and expanding some of its current features. Some of the improved features included in the renovation will be tennis complex for both youth and adults, a fresh playground, shelters, and a two court basketball pad. NEW amenities coming to Civitan Park will be a splash pad, a formal walking trail with exercise stations, and even a formal community garden with raised planters!
So what is the next step, you ask? Our Town’s Board of Alderman must first approve the proposed projects and approve the bond package. Afterwards, the Kernersville Parks & Recreation Department will request a vote of approval for the package from our wonderful Kernersville community citizens in the November 2016 election. Stay tuned for more exciting news! We are so very excited and thankful to continue expanding to meet our community’s needs within this wonderful Town we call home. Here we grow….indeed!