Davidson asks public for ideas concerning future parks

DAVIDSON  — Tennis courts, nature trails and water access were popular items for the town’s parks and recreation wish list.

Members of the Davidson Parks and Recreation Department and the contracted company LandDesign held the first public forum Feb. 18 to get ideas of what residents want to be included in the upcoming parks and recreation master plan.

“We had 80-100 people and got tons of feedback,” LandDesign Senior Associate Beth Poovey said. "It was a pretty diverse set of requests. It went from moderate activities like tennis to passive, to improving and keeping up existing facilities. People really like those and want to keep those going.”

Emphasizing the town’s push for meeting needs that affect the overall well-being of residents, event-goers were asked to put stickers next to pictures of things they wanted under one of the seven dimensions of health, including social, physical, intellectual and environmental.

Using an interactive map, attendees could point out exact locations where things would be a good fit, plus brainstorm additional ideas.

Many residents came in with a clear agenda.

“We’re interested in tennis courts,” said John Bosak without hesitation of why he was there. “People have to drive to Huntersville, Cornelius or Mooresville to play because Davidson does not have any public courts.”

Another potential amenity is disc golf, added Genny Bosak, which could be put with the greenway without adding much cost.

Though not Davidson residents, Iris Ham and Michele Lee of the U.S. Tennis Association’s Lake Norman leagues also came to plug tennis courts, saying when residents ask where to go, they can’t offer anywhere in town other than potentially expensive clubs.

“It helps in every way — exercise, social,” Ham said of how it benefits the area. Lee added that it’s good for all ages, noting they have both an adult and youth league.

Julie Young, of Davidson, was looking for something more geared toward town youth. 

“We are looking for a park to accommodate elementary age in a downtown location,” she said. “We want something that parents can come and spend money in downtown at the restaurants and bring their kids to play beyond their personal neighborhoods.”

She noted some of the current parks have asphalt and aren’t as conducive to let the kids climb and play.

Alexander Hazel, 9, also had a very specific request.

“I want trampolining for more people,” he said, adding he has a trampoline of his own and it’s fun.

Other attendees wanted more trails and greenways to offer more connectivity.

“We live in Davidson Pointe, which is in Iredell County, but in Davidson, and we feel it’s unconnected with the rest of the town and we want to get our input in,” resident Dennis Peavler said. “We are interested in more connection with greenways. Walking and biking on N.C. 115 is not fun or safe. We wish we were more connected with the rest of the town.”

Larry Core, who lives just outside of Davidson, said he likes to bike on Fisher Farm Park and would like to see more facilities, such as bathrooms, as well as more trails — biking and hiking.

He said there are six miles of trails, but he’d like to see that doubled.

“There is a lot of land to play with and it doesn’t cost a lot of money,” he said.

Like many of the attendees, resident Steedman Lyles said he is happy with the great programs the town already has, but hopes they are maintained. He thought adding more bike paths or kayaking access might also be an asset.

Poovey said there was a push for water access for human-powered boats, such as kayaks or rowing.

LandDesign plans to compile the suggestions and come back for a second meeting in six to eight weeks to present their draft findings of the   parks, recreation, open space and trails needs assessment. It will evaluate the area’s current needs along with expected growth to offer better parks and recreation services.

“I’m thrilled to see the outpouring of the community,” Davidson Mayor John Woods said. “This is exactly what we want to see and hear because it gives us perspective.”