1000 x 90

High Country Recreation Meets To Gauge Interest in Rec Center, Urges Citizens To Write To Commissioners

High Country Recreation President, Scott St. Clair, presents to community members on the many benefits of a recreation center.
High Country Recreation President, Scott St. Clair, presents to community members on the many benefits of a recreation center.

By Jesse Wood

April 16, 2014. High Country Recreation held a meeting at Green Valley School on Monday night to gauge the community’s interest in the construction of a recreation center in Watauga County.

“We’re really excited about the turnout and discussion last evening at Green Valley School regarding the construction of a recreation center here in Watauga County. It’s clear that the time is now in providing our community with such a valuable resource for generations to come,” according to a Facebook post by High Country Recreation following the meeting. 

In addition to members of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, County Manager Deron Geouque and Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Denny Norris and 30 other members of the community attended the meeting.

In the same Facebook post, the organization encouraged community members to personalize an attached letter addressed to the Watauga County Board of Commissioners to maintain the momentum and “keep the ball rolling.”

Click here for more information and to download the letter.

See entire letter below:

Dear County Commissioners,

Thank you for your service to the citizens of Watauga County by serving as county commissioners.

I urge you to plan for and build a community recreation center in Watauga County.  As the YMCA is not a viable option, the county needs a long term vision to make this happen.  An indoor recreation center has been identified as a need in our community for decades and has been part of the long term planning for the county and town during that time.  A survey from ASU in 2010 showed overwhelming community support for  an indoor recreation center.   Of 26 counties the same size as ours, only two counties do not have a community recreation center (either a YMCA or a public facility):  Watauga County and Franklin County.  At least the residents of Franklin County (northeast of Raleigh) have access to three YMCAs just across the county line in three different directions.  Watauga County’s lack of an indoor recreation center makes us an anomaly compared to other counties our same size – we need to fix that!

How would a community recreation center benefit Watauga County?

First, it would enrich the lives of the citizens in our community.  Particularly given our local weather issues, an indoor recreation center would give people across the age spectrum exercise opportunities year round.  Access to yearly recreational opportunities would also allow our Recreation Department to increase its programming for local children including summer camps and snow day alternatives.  This will have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of our citizens.  In addition, it will give people in the county an important gathering spot to strengthen the social bonds that make our community vibrant and strong.  Think about all the interactions that happen, for example, at the softball fields when the weather is nice.  An indoor facility would allow that to happen year round.

Second, it would strengthen the economy of our county.  A community recreation center would help our county retain and attract small businesses.  Studies have shown that small businesses have identified quality of life as the most important factor in their location decisions and the number one quality of life issue is recreation (specifically, in order, national/state parks, local parks, community recreation centers).  A community recreation center should be a vital component of any future economic development plans.  In addition, an indoor facility has the potential to generate significant economic activity from youth sports events. Youth sports tourism was a $7 billion industry in 2013 (for example, Kingsport, TN generated almost $10 million in economic activity from youth sports events in 2013).  An indoor facility would allow our community to be part of this economic engine.

For all these reasons, I urge you to plan for and build a community recreation center for Watauga County.