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Local News

Barry County residents tell what they want more of in recreation

Developing a five-year recreation plan for Charlton Park and Barry County Parks & Recreation created widespread interest from area residents and the feedback from the public was all positive, Parks & Recreation’s part-time Administrator Ron Welton said.

 

The public provided its opinions mainly through a survey and two input meetings. One of the questions on the survey asked, “Which of the following activities would you like to see expanded in the county?” on a list of 23 options. That question garnered more than 300 responses. “That’s a very good number for a survey, it shows a lot of interest,” Welton said.

 

Two public meetings brought more input from the public.  Welton said everyone’s ideas and thoughts were welcome. “We’re all stakeholders.” With the information gathered, parks officials will write the recreation plan with results based on the public’s responses.

 

When the boards approve a draft document, a copy will go to the Barry County Commissioners for preliminary approval, followed by a 30-day public comment period and then final approval.

The recreation plan, renewed every five years, is required to apply for state and federal grants. “This is why the DNR requests the plan, to ensure broad-based support,” Welton said.

 

THE SURVEY SAID:

Respondents treasure the county’s natural features.

“Barry County is still pretty rural, and the people like it,” Welton said. Some of the things people listed as important to them for recreation had a heavy emphasis on enjoying the outdoors, as shown by the top five items, all with more than 100 “likes.”

In order: walking trails, natural areas, wildlife viewing, canoeing/kayaking, and biking trails.

 

The second tier of five most popular activities to expand includes campground/camping, swimming and picnic facilities, each with 80 “votes,” dog walking areas and playgrounds.

 

Of less importance to survey takers were with the bottom five (leaving out “other” at 18 votes), football fields, skateboard park, basketball courts, sand volleyball and tennis and pickleball courts tied with 25 each.

 

THE PRIORTIES:

Based on the total responses from all the survey questions and public input, the board is planning its top priorities, Welton said.

*The Paul Henry Trail; paving a three-mile stretch in Nashville with a long term goal of filling in the gaps in the length of the trail.

 

*McKeown Park; improving the boat launch, fishing area and expand parking.

 

*Charlton Park; study the feasibility of either rustic or modern campgrounds, improvements to the beach area and improving the boardwalk in the village.

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