Parks and Recreation master plan for county is outlined


 Commissioners recently heard highlights of the finalized White County Parks and Recreation Master Plan and ultimately voted to acknowledge the plan and send it to the appropriate committee to draft a formal resolution to be heard at their August 2022 meeting.

Among the top items highlighted in the plan were aquatic facilities, walking trails, and river access. Kevin Guenther, the consultant who was hired to help develop the plan, said playgrounds and community spaces were also ranked highly in the over 790 online surveys that residents of White County had completed.

Guenther said those almost 800 surveys, along with several public meetings in which residents were given the opportunity to express their interests and concerns, were what the new White County Parks and Recreation Master Plan was based on.

“Every county and every city I have worked with that has adopted a plan has been able to get some kind of leverage to actually build something, to actually put something in the ground and make something happen,” Guenther said.

He also stated that, once it is approved,  the master plan will open the door for the county to pursue funding in the form of grants to fulfill projects they would like to see developed.

“That’s my desire for White County,” he said.

Guenther highly recommended that the county focus on adding to the White County Recreational Park, adding this would be a logical location to develop a splash pad.

“A splash pad is a great catalyst to get people to the park, and, then, they discover all these other things that are going on at the park, and they want to stay for more,” Guenther said. “Even if you had ballgames going on, the rest of the family has the splash pad. A few people from surrounding areas come to the splash pad and then discover your nature trails, and they come back.”

He also said that both the old White County Middle School property and the YMCA could be feasible locations for a much-requested splash pad. Guenther said he highly recommends the county take advantage of more greenways and walking trails.

“Next year, using this master plan, it’s our suggestion to apply to at least one grant,” Guenther said. “I would suggest applying to three or four. You’ll maybe get one the first year, but a lot of times if you come back with the same grant and they see that you’re serious, a lot of times you’ll get it.”

Stanley Neal, chairman of the county commission, told the court he would like to see Cane Hollow Recreational Facility, at Center Hill Lake, added to the Master Plan, noting the area has become a hot-spot for water enthusiasts who want to kayak or boat to Burgess Falls, and there is a lot of activity in the area from both residents and visitors alike.

“That’s something that should be on the radar for the county as a whole,” Neal said. “Just a lot of activity going on down there, so that’s just something we may want to add to it before we vote on it as a resolution.”

White County Parks and Recreation Master Plan was sent to committee and will undergo more discussion during the Aug. 1 committee meetings as it is prepared for a final resolution.     


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