Currituck County Parks and Recreation recommends significant updates, new facilities to meet future growth

Published 11:04 am Thursday, April 27, 2023

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Currituck commissioners heard the results of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan survey from Mike Norris of McGill and Associates at the April regular meeting.

Norris said that the population in Currituck County is expected to increase 36.7% from 28,100 people to 38,407 by the year 2032.

To meet current needs and in anticipation of the growth, Norris reviewed the results of the parks and rec community survey and offered recommendations.

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About 8% of the total population responded to the survey, which Norris said was a very good number. The top five requested recreation amenities were a splash pad, adventure play area, fishing pier, natural surface trails, and boat ramps.

Norris began his presentation with an overview of existing park facilities in the county, recommendations to make those facilities better, and estimated cost of improvements:

Currituck County Community Park ($2.6 million): develop/implement a site-specific master plan; acquire adjacent land to the park, develop park through trails, day-use activities.

Currituck County Rural Center ($825,000): boardwalk expansion, tent and/or treehouse camping platforms, nature educational signage, outdoor classroom.

Historic Corolla Park ($43,000): accessible canoe/kayak launch, picnic stations.

Poyner’s Road Park ($960,000): boardwalk along the canal, tent camping platforms, restroom building.

Shingle Landing Park ($875,000): add two lighted multipurpose fields; expand the parking area.

Sound Park ($3.6 million): develop/implement a site-specific master plan, redevelopment of entire park.

Maple Park ($10,000): accessible fishing platform.

Carova Beach Park ($1.8 million): develop/implement a site-specific master plan, increase accessibility, walking path, playground updates and day use activities.

Knotts Island Ruritan Park ($2 million): develop/implement a site-specific master plan; expand indoor recreation space, parking, new accessible paths in the shade, fitness stations.

Veterans Memorial Park ($335,000): quarter mile paved walking path, restrooms, fitness par-course, assess boardwalk for needed repairs, feasibility study to develop a small fee-based public, transient dock as park of existing boardwalk with utility hook up.

Walnut Island Park ($1.7 million): develop/implement a site-specific master plan; consider parking and boat access needs.

Northwest River Camping Platforms ($180,000): add nine camping platforms.

Total recommendations from McGill and Associates for existing facility development equals $15 million.

The group is also recommending adding additional facilities – a new community park near Moyock, a community park near Grandy/Jarvisburg, two neighborhood parks in Coinjock and Corolla, and a mini park in South Corolla.

The cost for new facility development is an estimated $15 million, bringing the total – if the county were to follow all recommendations – to $30 million for parks and recreation improvements and development.

“Now that’s not all going to be done in a 10-year span obviously, but we want to think about that where the needs are and then respond to those,” Norris said.

Immediate staffing needs in the next several years, according to Norris, are for two athletic assistants and two park attendants, plus part time contract programming assistants, assistant park attendants, and referees and officials.

Another need is to acquire additional land for these facilities.

“We’re growing quickly in Currituck County, and park land is going to be needed. Once it’s gone, it’s hard to get back so if there are opportunities that address the locations for park expansion or for new park facilities, that needs to be a priority with any community,” he added.

Commissioner Paul Beaumont mentioned that some developments, like Fost, are planning their own private neighborhood recreation centers. This not only takes the burden off the county to pay for and maintain public parks, but it also makes good use of the open space that developments are required to have.

“[A private park] doesn’t impact density at all. It provides something that actually puts that land to work … I think that’s something that could be a win all the way around and we should definitely explore it further,” Beaumont said.