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Video: Candidates for Watauga Commissioners Talk About Greenways and Potential Recreation Center Tuesday

Commissioner candidates Barbara Kinsey (D), Jimmy Hodges (R), Larry Turnbow (D), incumbent David Blust (R), incumbent Billy Kennedy (D) and Karen Lerch (R) attend the forum on recreation on Tuesday night.

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 1, 2014. High Country Recreation, Blue Ridge Conservancy, and High Country Pathways sponsored a Watauga County Board of Commissioners candidate recreation forum on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

The purpose of the nonpartisan forum was to hear the candidates thoughts on recreation in the High Country and, in particular, their opinion on the construction of a community recreation center, something that has been discussed for decades – to no avail.

All six candidates attended the event: Karen Lerch (R) v. Billy Kennedy (D) (I); Larry Turnbow (D) v. David Blust (R) (I); and Jimmy Hodges (R) v. Barbara Kinsey (D).

Moderator Dr. Scott St. Claire of High Country Recreation led off the event by thanking the candidates for attending the event and “being part of something that is unique and hasn’t been done before” during previous election cycles.

The candidates were asked five questions from St. Claire by themselves on the podium and then all the candidates sat together and answered questions from the audience.

These were St. Claire’s questions:

  • Why did you choose to participate in this forum?
  • What role does recreation play in economic development for our community?
  • What role do you see the Board of Commissioners playing to support recreation in our community?
  • A community recreation center has been an expressed need of the community for decades both in county/town planning and in community surveys.  Since a YMCA is not coming to Watauga County, what plans would you have to meet this need?
  • Trails and greenways have been shown to be one of the most important recreation amenities in statewide and local surveys.  What role can the county play to support the development and building of local trails and greenways?

ELECTION 2014 internal ad

As Republican candidate Karen Lerch said, “I don’t think any of the commissioners or citizens wouldn’t support [recreation in general].”

And that seemed to be the theme of the night. Watch attached videos of the candidates’ responses. The candidates are answering questions from the audience below in the last video.

Billy Kennedy 
Karen Lerch 
David Blust 
Larry Turnbow 
Jimmy Hodges 
Barbara Kinsey 

[youtube] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT2ipeAja5Y&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]