Tax concerns stymie plans for parks

Published 10:05 am Sunday, September 14, 2008

COURTLAND—With the reassurance that their vote did not mean they were recommending or anticipating any new taxes anytime soon, Southampton County planners on Thursday gave a thumbs-up to a proposed parks and recreation plan.

It is the closest the county has ever come to having a bona fide parks and recreation department, but even if the Board of Supervisors approves the recommendation, it’s likely that the actual department is still a thing only of dreams.

“This might not happen for 30 years, and the people that we are doing it for now haven’t even been born,” said Dallas Jones, who serves on both the planning commission and as chairman of the board of supervisors. “It’ll be in a book, and that’s as far as it’s going, because we don’t have the money to do anything else with it.”

Still, several county residents and owners of large properties stood to condemn the plan and the profligacy they associated with it.

“Yes, we need recreation for youth in the county,” said David Snyder of Sedley. He immediately added, “Do we need this (parks and recreation plan) in our county? Absolutely not. Do we have the money for this? Absolutely not.”

Snyder and others were speaking during a public hearing on a proposed parks and recreation amendment to the county’s comprehensive plan. The 25-page amendment would be “a guiding document for the enhancement and development of parks and recreation facilities in Southampton County,” according to Alan W. Edwards, who chairs the planning commission.

The document sets priorities for developing recreational opportunities throughout the county, beginning with educating people about the facilities and programs that already exist.