Polk County commission approves new recreation master plan

Published 6:44 pm Thursday, December 5, 2013

by Leah Justice

The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved a new recreation master plan during its Monday, Dec. 2 meeting.

Commissioners made a few minor changes to the plan prior to its approval, including taking out for profit businesses listed under non-county programs and placing the Meeting Place as a county program.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The plan comes just before the retirement of recreation director Patty Aldred, who has led the department for 18 years.

The new plan includes surveys where more than 50 percent of respondents said the most popular programs in the county were open swimming, walking, youth basketball and recreational play. Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) prepared the plan for $6,000 with input gathered for the past two years.

Recommendations in the plan include creating joint use agreements with the school system for use of school facilities to make it clear who is responsible.

The plan also recommends that Gibson Pool and attain an assessment for its expected lifespan. New investments should be made at the recreation complex in Mill Spring, according to the plan. The plan also suggests updating job descriptions for the recreation department’s full-time staff.

The plan also recommends that the county facilitate new trail development by working with partners and grant money.

Other recommendations included enhancing the county’s recreation marketing and creating a Friends of Polk County Recreation nonprofit organization in order to tap into the community and to be able to generate donations.

The county has advertised for an interim recreation director to begin as early as December/January.