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Recreation: Parkersville center on list to start in '11

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

After more than a decade of trying to get an inter-generational community center built in Parkersville, residents said their dream is finally in sight.

“They say we’re going to have something the last of this year or the first of next year,” said Norman Reid, a leader in the effort. “A lot can change between now and then, but we’re pleased with the way things are going.”

Nothing is official, though Beth Goodale, the county’s director of recreation, said some news about the center is forthcoming.

“We’re working on something big,” she said. “Stay tuned, because we’re real close to having an announcement.”

The Georgetown County Parks and Recreation commission met Monday and chairman Bob Hesterfer said there was talk about the county “looking at having the center completed in 2011.”

On the most recent draft of the county’s capital improvement plan, approved in October, the project was slated to be funded in 2012 and 2013, something that had Parkersville residents in a temper, because other projects, including tennis courts in Litchfield, were slated to be completed this year.

However, work on those projects wont start as soon as expected, because of delays in hiring a firm to plan the layout of new recreation facilities. The county wanted to have a firm hired late last year.

Parkersville residents have already had architectural designs drawn up for the new recreation center, land is secured and about $500,000 in funding is on hand, not including money the county has earmarked for the project.

Reid and others from the community met with county officials to work out some issues with the center property that have to be tended to before plans for construction can move forward.

County Council Member Glen O’Connell, who was part of the meeting, said he believes that issue is close to being resolved.

Reid said the center is needed to give kids a safe place to spend time and keep them out of trouble. They have few options, he said.

Reid opened a small game room with a lunch counter on Parkersville Road as a temporary solution to the need for a recreation center. Open when school isn’t in session, it has become a popular hangout, but Reid said kids need more.

Hesterfer said the benefits of the center will extend well beyond Parkersville.

“This is something the entire area needs,” he said. “We don’t have a gym in this area and up until this point we’ve been dependent on the Board of Education to use their gyms.”

But availability of school district facilities for the public is limited. It was only about two years ago that the district started opening its gyms to kids during Christmas break.

The new center will also provide valuable meeting space, Hesterfer said.

“When you look at the availability of meeting space, the library is really the only thing we have.”

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