Steering Team looks for ways to improve park usage

By Julia Brooks
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

The Master Plan Steering Team, created by Durham Parks and Recreation, met last week to discuss issues with the way parks are used and information about parks is communicated with the public.

The Master Plan Steering Team listens as Umar Muhammad (center) gives feedback on what should be done in order to inform the public about Durham parks. (Staff photo by Julia Brooks)

The meeting, held on Nov. 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Holton Career and Resource Center, began with an introduction of those in attendance then moved quickly into the discussion at hand.

The issues identified included some parks not being accessible to buses, some bathrooms not being accessible to the public, not having enough security at parks, and the public being unaware of different features at parks in Durham.

Public knowledge about park amenities is also limited because some places such as schools don’t allow information on parks to be posted.

The group also discussed holding new events: a Community Day, small food truck rodeos, free sports clinics for children and fitness events. The team feels those events would help the public become more aware of the different parks in Durham and spread the information to others.

At the meeting, members of the Master Plan Steering Team reminisced on how life was when they used to go to the city parks. They remembered that the parks used to be the host to different events, such as block parties, cookouts and games. The members feel that if parks could get that feel back, more people would use them.

“We meet once a month. We’re in the community meeting phase trying to get as much input from the Durham residents about how they use parks, but also where they see parks and recreation going in Durham in future,” said Umar Muhammad, Chair of the Recreation Advisory Commission for the City of Durham and a member of the team.

Attendees felt as if the meeting ended on a positive note. “I think the meeting went well,” said Patricia Murray, publisher of the Durham Skywriter and member of the team.

Alice Cheek, head facilitator of PAC 5 (Partners Against Crime) has hopes for the future of parks in Durham. “I hope they build it up and put things all ages can use,” she said.

If you are a member of the Durham community who wants your voice to be heard on park issues, the next and final community meeting will be held on Nov. 13 at the Southern Regional Library, located at 4505 S. Alston St.

If residents in the community are unable to attend a meeting, they can even attend a virtual community meeting through the online program MindMixer. Durham’s project can be found at . The site gives residents the opportunity to share ideas with key city leaders and staff from wherever they have internet access.