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NOVEMBER 2009
Greetings from Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation. Welcome to our e-newsletter for November. Even though the weather is turning colder and leaves are falling, we still have many things to tell you about and many activities at our parks, recreation centers, and nature preserves.

   
Accreditation and the right to display this logo certify our commitment to quality and constant improvement.  

NATIONAL ACCREDITATION CERTIFIES ALL-AROUND QUALITY OF MECKLENBURG COUNTY PARK AND RECREATION

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation has been awarded national accreditation by the , Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies  sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association. "We are very proud to be one of only 88 agencies in the country to be so accredited," said Park and Rec Director Jim Garges. "Congratulations to all our staff for their hard work to make this happen. This affirms that we are using the best practices in the profession to provide excellent services to our citizens." Accreditation caps a year-long process in which all aspects of the department--operations, facilities, administration, programs and procedures--were compiled into extensive documents and carefully examined by professionals in the field. The documents filled more than 15 binders and describe how Park and Rec meets 155 national standards. A team of experts also came to Charlotte to make on-site inspections and personal examinations.


FEDERAL STIMULUS MONEY TO FUND TOBY CREEK GREENWAY RUNNING TO AND THROUGH THE CAMPUS OF UNC-CHARLOTTE

Park and Rec's greenway system will soon make an important expansion, funded by federal stimulus money. A $1.25 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will build the new Toby Creek Greenway  to and through the campus of UNC-Charlotte. This initial phase of Toby Creek greenway will run about two miles. It will connect Mallard Creek/Clark's Creek Greenway system with the university campus. Construction is expected to start by the end of the year, and take about 12 months to complete. This section of greenway will allow many students, faculty, and staff to walk or ride bikes to the university. Neighborhoods which adjoin this greenway system include: Fairlea, Wellington, Winchester, Mallard Ridge, Radbourne, Colvard Park, Mallard Trace, Brookstone, and the University Research
Park.

NEWS FLASH: A second greenway has just been approved for federal stimulus funding: $1.1 million for West Branch Rocky River Greenway in Davidson. Work to begin early 2010."

   
Youngster kicked soccer balls across the field to celebrate the grand opening, then played a league game.  

EASTWAY PARK GRAND OPENING GETS A REAL 'KICK-OFF' FROM AREA KIDS WHO PLAY IN SOCCER LEAGUES THERE

Kids from local soccer teams helped Park and Rec "kick-off" the grand opening of Eastway Park, Oct. 3. The park is behind the shopping center at Eastway and The Plaza. It incorporates property from the old Briarwood Park (33 acres) plus an additional 90 new acres. The new park serves many neighborhoods including Plaza Park I and II, Highland Trace, Citiside, Shannon Park, Hampshire Hills, Bridlewood, Eastbrook, Green Meadows, and Green Forest. Phase I, just opened, cost $3.6 million, paid for by Park and Recreation bonds approved by voters in 1999 and 2004. This phase includes: two multipurpose athletic fields, two softball fields a walking trail, plus restroom buildings, roads and parking. Additional phases will be developed as funding is available.


LARGE TRACT IN NORTH MECKLENBURG PURCHASED FOR NATURE PRESERVE AND WATERSHED PROTECTION

Mecklenburg County purchased more than 211 acres in northern Mecklenburg in October for watershed protection along Mountain Island Lake, the main source of drinking water in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The land has been designated as a Park and Recreation nature preserve. It lies between Cowan's Ford Wildlife Refuge and Rural Hill Nature Preserve, and was the highest ranked prospective acquisition identified in the "Greenprinting" process of the 2008 Park and Recreation 10-Year Master Plan. It received big points for water-quality protection, wildlife habitat and natural resources. The tract cost $6.6 million, paid for by County land bonds, and it includes the historic Holly Bend house (circa 1795), listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built by Robert Davidson, son of John Davidson of Revolutionary War fame, the house was once center of a 2800 acre plantation. It is a fine example of Federal Neoclassicism style built by a prominent southern family. Park and Rec plans to restore and preserve the house.


SHUFFLETOWN PARK TO GET NEW AMENITIES FOR THE COMMUNITY, EVEN BEFORE IT OPENS!

Park and Recreation plans to add amenities to the new Shuffletown Park to allow even wider use by the surrounding communities. To be added this winter are: a dog park, because there's not one in that part of town; a walking trail that will incorporate some of the old drag strip on the site; a playground for children; and a sand volleyball court. Shuffletown Park was first developed as a sports park of about 50 acres to serve the Coulwood community. Phase I, paid for with $3-million in bond funds approved by voters in 2004, includes two baseball fields with a soccer/football field in the outfields, a restroom and shelter building and parking. The new amenities are scheduled to be finished when the park opens in spring, in time for baseball season.


   
TR Cheerleaders cheer for the TR Challenger football team.  

COULD YOUR FAMILY BENEFIT FROM PARK AND RECREATION 'THERAPEUTIC RECREATION' SERVICES?

Mecklenburg Park and Rec has many fine programs of Therapeutic Recreation (TR) which provide special services to individuals who have disabilities and special needs. These programs, for children, teens and adults, focus on abilities, rather than disabilities. They encourage people to attain their highest level of independent living by increasing leisure opportunities, improving social and communication skills, and increasing their awareness and involvement in community and recreational activities. We have a staff of dedicated professionals. If your family could use therapeutic recreation, please visit our webpage by clicking here . And check our monthly TR Wire e-newsletter on that page. You can subscribe by calling or e-mailing any TR staff on the last page.

PARK AND REC OFFERS DAY TRIPS FOR RETIREES, EMPTY NESTERS AND BOOMERS.

Looking for fun places to go and fun things to do? Try our festive day trips! To register for any of these trips, contact Michelle Hitselberger at 704-989-3617.
  • Trip to Asheville's Biltmore Village, Folk Art Center and Mt. Mitchell State Park: Wed., Nov. 4, $32 includes transportation, meals are separate. Bus departs Mallard Creek Rec Center  at 6:30am and  Marion Diehl Rec Center Rec Center, 7am, returns around 6:45pm.
  • McAdenville Christmas Lights and Dinner: Mon., Dec. 7, $10 includes transportation, meals are separate. Bus departs Mallard Creek Rec. Center at 2:30pm and Marion Diehl Rec. Center at 3pm, returns around 8pm.
  • Biltmore House Christmas Tour: Thurs., Dec. 10, $66, includes transportation and admission ticket, meals are separate. Bus departs Mallard Creek Rec Center at 6am and Marion Diehl Rec. Center at 6:30am, returns around 6:45pm
  • Fruit Cake Factory, Old Salem Candlelight Tea and Tanglewood Lights: Wed., Dec. 16, $43, includes transportation and bottled water. Bus departs Mallard Creek Rec Center at 6:30am and Marion Diehl Rec. Center at 7am. Bus returns around 8pm.

   
NC Sailing & Rowing Center is building a headquarters at Park and Rec's Blythe Landing boat launch park on Lake Norman in Huntersville.  

NC COMMUNITY SAILING AND ROWING OFFERS SAILING CLASSES AT BLYTHE LANDING ON LAKE NORMAN

North Carolina Community Sailing and Rowing(NCCAR), in partnership with Park and Rec, offers introductory sailing lessons for ages 18-up during November. Learn to sail in a 19 ft Flying Scott with two students and an instructor on each boat. Boats provided. Classes are at Blythe Landing  on Lake Norman and will be held Nov. 4 and 5 (10am - 2:30pm), Nov. 28, and 29 (8:30am-1:30pm). Cost is $185 for a two day session. Register online at www.nccsailrow.org or by visiting the NCCAR office, 15901 NC Highway 73 in Huntersville. Pay by credit card or check . For more information call 704-947-7245.


PARK AND RECREATION STAFF RECOGNIZED FOR SERVICE AND PROFESSIONALISM

Congratulations to Park and Recreation staff recognized for outstanding service to their community:

  • Don Cureton was installed into the National Alumni Hall of Distinction at Winston-Salem State University. Don has 30 years service in Park and Rec and Facility Manager II for our Northwest Corridor recreation centers
  • Atuya Cornwell won a scholarship from the National Recreation and Parks Association to attend the group's national congress last month in Salt Lake City, Utah. Atuya is a Recreation Coordinator/Supervisor in Athletic Services and produces many fine programs.
  • Ken Koonce, winner of the Meritorious Service Award from the NC Athletic Directors Workshop Conference for dedicated service to the park and recreation profession. Ken is a Recreation Coordinator/Supervisor.
  • Staci Clark won a Mecklenburg County "Green Guardian Award" for her love of recycling and a campaign to recycle old cell phones and printing cartridges. Staci is an environmental educator.

E-PLANT TIPS FOR FALL FROM THE NC COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE

In Mecklenburg County, the NC Cooperative Extension Service operates as part of Park and Recreation and offers these gardening tips for November:

  • November is the time for a second lawn fertilizer application for tall fescue. One pound of actual nitrogen is the recommended amount. For example: 10 lbs of a 10-10-10 fertilizer per 1000 sq. ft. = 1 lb of actual nitrogen. So if the fertilizer you buy has 20 percent nitrogen content you would apply 5 lbs of the bag per 1000 sq. ft. Tall fescue grasses need 3 lbs of "actual" nitrogen per year, and this amount is divide into three separate applications throughout the year.
  • After chrysanthemums are killed by frost, cut them down in preparation for winter. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of loose mulch, such as leaves.
  • Light pruning at this time is okay. It is best to wait until the winter dormancy of February if you need to remove more than 1/3 rd of plant growth.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT PARK AND RECREATION; COME HELP US WITH MANY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Park and Recreation thanks almost 17,000 volunteers who came out to support the Department in the past year. Volunteers provided 112,969 hours service with a value equal to $2.2 million! For information on volunteering for any programs contact: Lori Saylor or 704 336-5478. NOTE: Volunteers younger than age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers for Therapeutic Recreation (TR) must be at least 18. Join the fun. Volunteer for any of the following:

1. COACHES FOR YOUTH SPORTS are always needed:

  • flag football
  • tackle football
  • soccer
  • basketball
  • baseball
  • track and field
  • tennis
  • cheerleading

Most opportunities take about three hours a week. Coaches are usually responsible for responsible for one practice and one game a week. Opportunities are at many recreation centers and parks. Background check required.

  • GIRLS CLUB at Greenville Recreation Center needs volunteers, starting in July, Mondays: 5:30pm–6:30pm. This is an outreach program for young girls in the community ranging in ages from 7 to 18.
  • ARTISTS NEEDED at many recreation centers. If you can teach basic art, painting, sketching, design or sculpture and would like to help, let us know. Schedules and locations are often flexible. Volunteers should be able to develop a lesson plan and show examples of their work.
  • PARK AMBASSADORS for all parks and greenways. Hourse and locations flexible. On foot or bike, monitor and report on the parks, trails, and greenways. Greet patrons as a representative of the department. Must commit to at least 6 months as an ambassador.
  • THERAPEUTIC ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS at Marion Diehl Rec Center, Mon-Fri after school, 3:30pm-5:30pm. Program for teens, 13-21, with disabilities. Includes games, gardening, sports, music, crafts, as well as enhancing life skills and socialization. Volunteers must be at least age 18 and able to lift 25 pounds, stand, and bend. Assist with set-up and break-down, participant supervision and activities.
  • 4H CLUB at Greenville Recreation Center, Mondays, an hour each week. Work with staff to lead a 4 H program activities. Curriculum provided.
    RIBBON WALK NATURE PRESERVE AND REEDY CREEK NATURE CENTER. Dates: Second Saturday of every month, 10am–12noon. Help remove invasive plants (pulling weeds and using loppers and saws on shrubs and vines), keep trails clear from debris, install erosion brakes (shoveling), lay down woodchips, rake, clean-up creeks, streams and ponds, etc. All outdoors, require physical labor and will be cancelled in bad weather.
  • MONTHLY GROUP PROJECTS at many parks, greenways and nature preserves. You choose date and time, we provide projects. Assist with picking-up litter, limbs and debris; mulching, pruning and planting for groups of 5-10. Preferred ages 16 and older.
  • We have many OTHER VOLUNTEER OPPORTUINITIES for businesses and groups.  Click here to link our volunteer page for more.



















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