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Recreation: Planning new parks - Long-awaited Parkersville center moving with park plans

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Plans for a new recreation center at Parkersville weren’t among materials presented at a public information meeting on proposed parks and related facilities last week.

The absence caused concern among folks who have spent more than a decade fighting for the project.

“We need to know the priority, because it’s been on the books long before this other stuff,” Alice Young told county officials.

The center remains a top priority of the county as it moves forward with the recreation component of its capital improvement plan, County Administrator Sel Hemingway assured.

“It’s as much Phase 1 as anything you see here tonight,” he said.

The details of a land swap agreement for the property where the center is to be built have been worked out. The county traded .7 acres on Parkersville Road and two buildings that sit on the land to the Pawleys Island Civic Club in exchange for a vacant 2.5-acre lot at Parkersville Park.

Design and construction documents are in the works and bidding for construction should start in winter or early spring, with building commencing immediately after, said Beth Goodale, the county’s recreation director.

The facility is expected to open in early 2012. It’s something Goodale said she’s every bit as excited about as the folks in Parkersville, as the opening of the center will mean the recreation department can bring more of its programming to the area.

The county recreation department has a range of programs for adults, children and seniors, but the only facility on Waccamaw Neck to accommodate them is the Murrells Inlet Community Center. Dog obedience training, guitar lessons and karate are a few of the activities currently going on there that could be offered in Parkersville soon.

The center — expected to be between 25,000 and 27,000 square feet — will also provide a public gymnasium and a dedicated senior center, two things the Pawleys Island area lacks.

Parkersville residents had architectural designs for the center drawn up several years ago, but those won’t be used for construction.

“We aren’t building the exact center the Pawleys Island Civic Club wanted to build,” Goodale said. The original plans called for day care facilities.

“The county is not in the day care business,” she said. But those she’s talked to aren’t upset by the changes to the plans.

“It’s best for everyone all around,” said Norman Reid, who was a leader in efforts to get the center built. “Some people may be a little disappointed, but there are other things that can be done in that building for children, so we’re happy.”

The civic club will be able to have a child care center near the center, thanks to the land swap. An old school building that houses a Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office substation is included in the swap and will be used for child care.

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