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Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan for Accomack County

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Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan for Accomack County Powered By Docstoc
					     Comprehensive
Parks and Recreation Plan
  for Accomack County




          Adopted:


                            1
                                    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Accomack County Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan is a joint effort between the
Accomack County Parks and Recreation Department staff and members of the Accomack
County Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, with the assistance of the Assistant County
Administrator and Accomack County Department of Planning staff. The plan looks at the
recreational needs of the county projected through 2020. The plan discusses the impact of a
projected county population growth of approximately 14% during this period as it pertains to
recreational needs; identifies current assets and opportunities (charts detailing available
programs, equipment and facilities are included herein); and describes a plan of action to meet
the projected needs given current resources. It also attempts to identify all recreational resources
in the county whether they are public or privately owned or operated.

The plan also identifies an anticipated increase in the numbers of senior citizens and persons who
identify themselves as Hispanic/Latino and the need for new programs that specifically address
the needs of these populations, in addition to those of underserved populations such as persons
with disabilities, children and youth. It discusses the estimated cost for additional facilities and
staffing and the importance of continuing to partner with private businesses and public agencies
in order to better meet the county’s increasing recreational needs. Also included in the plan are
maps showing the locations of various recreational, eco-tourism and heritage trails, and beaches
and water access points on the Eastern Shore; an excerpt from the Virginia Department of
Conservation and Recreation’s 2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan which details the state’s findings
regarding recreational resources and needs on the entire Eastern Shore; and a number of
examples of model recreational facilities.

Specifically, the plan recommends:

    •   Construction of a central Parks and Recreation facility that can serve as the headquarters
        of the Accomack County Parks and Recreation Department
    •   Development of a park in the southern portion of Accomack County to replace an
        existing park that was recently taken out of service
    •   Support of the Eastern Shore Bicycle Plan
    •   Completion of a community survey and development of new programs based on the
        results of the survey
    •   Provision of the additional staffing and operational funding needed to accomplish these
        goals

A projected time line with funding estimates is provided here:

Proposed Project                     FY2008      FY2009        FY2010      FY015        FY2020
Purchase of land, design and         $168,000    $230,000
construction of Southern facility

Purchase of land, design and                                   $200,000    $250,000
construction of Central facility



                                                                                                   2
Proposed Project                    FY2008      FY2009       FY2010       FY2015      FY2020
Completion of community                                      $25,000
survey, development of new
programs, and planning of
future needs beyond FY2020
(to include a future Northern
facility)
Additional staffing (estimated                               $25,000      $60,000     $35,000
salaries and benefits)
TOTAL ESTIMATED
FUNDING NEEDED                      $168,000    $230,000     $250,000     $310,000    $35,000


In order raise the necessary funding to accomplish these goals, the Accomack County Board of
Supervisors, Parks and Recreation Commission, county staff and the citizens of Accomack
County will need to work together to identify and utilize all sources of potential funding. In
addition to county funds, potential funding sources include donated land for future recreational
facilities, grant and foundation funding, adopt a park programs, fund raising, revised fee
structures, etc. It is hope of all those that were involved in the development of this document
that this plan will form the foundation for the continued enhancement of recreational
opportunities and resources for the citizens of Accomack County.




                                                                                                   3
                                        INTRODUCTION

Accomack County is a natural beauty with the Chesapeake Bay to the west and the Atlantic
Ocean to the east. Our facilities provide numerous recreational programs for active and more
passive participants. With new projections showing increasing population and development in
the future, the Accomack County Parks and Recreation Department is preparing for this growth.
This Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan projects the recreational needs of Accomack
County over the next twenty years and proposes facilities and programs to accommodate the
anticipated growth of the county during that time frame.


                                         PHILOSOPHY

The Accomack County Parks and Recreation Department believes that each citizen of Accomack
County has a right to a quality leisure environment that is safe, accessible, affordable and
environmentally pleasing.

We believe that every citizen has the right to be treated in a dignified manner, with full respect
toward their heritage, age, sex, religion, condition of life, and ability.

We further believe that every citizen should have the opportunity to pursue wholesome
recreation and leisure in the manner that satisfies him or her.

It has been the past practice and is a continuing goal of the Parks and Recreation Department to
co-locate recreational programs at public school sites and other county facilities, whenever
practicable, in order to maximize resources.




                                                                                                     4
                                     DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIAL PROFILE

Projections of population, income and housing units are important to County officials in order to
understand the needs of the future and provide the staffing and resources to address these needs.
In the case of Parks and Recreation, future facilities and programs need to become a part of the
county’s planning process. Other important demographics include the aging of the population,
levels of obesity and diabetes, and other statistics regarding public health-related issues.


                                        ACCOMACK COUNTY STATISTICS

Income - Financial income often dictates recreational choices. Persons with higher incomes tend
to participate more in certain types of recreational activities because they can better afford these
types of recreation for themselves and their families. In 1999, the median income for Accomack
County residents was $30,250 compared to $46,677 for Virginia overall.

Population and Social Characteristics – After more than 50 years of population decreases, the
population of the county grew by 435 persons from 1980 to 1990. Using adjusted figures due to
concerns regarding a large error in the 2000 Census data, county Planning staff estimated that the
county’s population increased by 2,785 from 1990 to 2000. Based on these estimates, county
Planning staff members have projected an increase in population from 34,488 persons in 2000 to
40,446 persons in 2020, or an increase of 8.5%.

                                             Accomack County Population

  70000
  60000
  50000
  40000                                                                               40,446           43,800
                                                        34,488          37,350
  30000                  31,268         31,703
                      1980           1990           2000          2010             2020           2030

                                                           Population

Source: Based on estimates provided by the Accomack County Department of Planning


                                            Population Projections by Age
                         15,000
   Population




                         10,000

                          5,000

                              0
                                   Persons under 5 years   Persons under 18 years    Persons 65 years old &
                2000 Census                 2,336                  10,271                      7,389
                2010 Projections            2,600                  10,536                      7,570
                2020 Projections            2,831                  11,208                      9,338
                                                             Age Characteristics


Source: Virginia Employment Commission Population Projections by Age


                                                                                                                5
While younger age ranges remained stable or actually declined during the 1990s, due to the
“Baby Boom” of the 1950s, the number of persons in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups continued
to increase. In addition to the continued aging of the “Baby Boomers” in the future, there is
more recent evidence of Accomack County’s attraction as a retirement community with higher
populations being seen in the 65-86 age groups.

The County also has a large and growing number of residents who identify themselves as
Hispanic or Latino. In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the percentage of Accomack
County residents who are Hispanic or Latino as 8.67%. According to the Virginia Employment
Commission, this figure is expected to increase to 11% by 2020.

Housing statistics are another important piece of information as they are an indicator of the areas
of the county where additional households are being added. According to the US Census
Bureau, significant growth is in the number of housing units is anticipated is the northern areas
of Accomack County (Chincoteague/New Church/Greenbackville areas) with moderate growth
in the number of housing units anticipated in the Parksley, Onancock and Cashville areas.




Source: Accomack County Quick Facts from the US Census Bureau > http://quickfacts.census.gov


The County’s steady population growth and changing social characteristics will require
additional parks, recreational facilities, programs and increased staff for the department to meet
the needs of the public. We must address the special needs of groups such as senior citizens,
persons with disabilities, youth and Hispanic/Latino groups.



                                                                                                     6
                                     EXISTING FACILITIES

Although the Eastern Shore is still considered to be an isolated rural area, the entire Eastern
Shore and Accomack County, in particular, offer a wealth of recreational opportunities.
Designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, the Eastern Shore of Virginia is the longest
expanse of coastal wilderness remaining on the Atlantic seaboard. In addition to county-owned
recreation facilities and water access points, there are birding and wildlife trails, water trails, and
a national seashore and wildlife refuge located in Accomack County.

County Recreation Facilities:

The Accomack County Parks and Recreation Department currently operates six main facilities.
Two facilities, Wallops Park and Arcadia Ballfield Complex, are located in the northern portion
of Accomack County and two facilities, the Nandua Tennis Facility and the Wachapreague Park,
are located in the central and southern portions of Accomack County. Once a main facility in the
south, the Central Middle School Complex was recently sold and its ballfields were moved to
centrally located Nandua Middle School. The sixth facility, the Pungoteague Golf Driving
Range, is expanding usage due to the increased need for soccer fields and for ballfields. Refer to
Exhibit 1 for a map of existing facilities.

Facility Name          Location                  Equipment                          Estimated
                                                                                    Annual
                                                                                    Use
Wallops Park           Wallops, Virginia             •   Playground                 1500
                                                     •   Softball Field             persons
                                                     •   Soccer Field
                                                     •   Nature Trail
                                                     •   Picnic Table & Grills
Arcadia Ballfield      Arcadia High School           •   Large Fenced               2000 +
Complex                Lankford Highway                  Playground                 persons
                       Oak Hall, Virginia            •   Softball/baseball Field
                                                     •   Lights/scoreboard
                                                     •   Concession stand with
                                                         rest rooms
                                                     •   Pavilion
                                                     •   Picnic Table & Grills
Pungoteague Golf       Pungoteague                   •   Golf driving range         300
Driving Range          Elementary School             •   Soccer fields              persons
                       28480 Bobtown Road
                       Melfa, Virginia
Nandua Tennis          Nandua High School            •   Outdoor Tennis Court       1300 +
Facility               26350 Lankford                                               persons
                       Highway
                       Onley, Virginia




                                                                                                      7
Facility Name        Location                 Equipment                        Estimated
                                                                               Annual
                                                                               Use
Wachapreague         Wachapreague,                • Softball/baseball Field    2000 +
Park                 Virginia                     • Lights/scoreboard          persons
                                                  • Playground
                                                  • Large Pavilion
                                                  • Picnic Table & Grills
                                                  Outdoor Tennis Courts (2)
Nandua Middle        Nandua Middle                • Playground
School Complex       School                       • Softball/baseball Field
                     Onley, Virginia              • Lights/scoreboard
                                                  • Soccer Field
                                                  • Concession stand with
                                                     rest rooms
                                                  • Pavilion
                                                  • Picnic Table & Grills




                           OTHER RECREATION RESOURCES

County Water Access Points:

The county owns a large number of boat ramps, docks, piers and marinas (Exhibit 2) which
provide public access to the county’s Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean coastal areas. Some
of these facilities have been substantially updated and improved while others are very basic. In
some cases, the county does not own the land surrounding the water access point which limits
the potential for improvement. The two county-owned marinas – Greenbackville Harbor and
Quinby Harbor – are each operated and maintained by a county sponsored commission.



                                                                                                   8
Name of Water Access Point    Location                          Type of Facility

Ann’s Cove Boat Ramp          End of New Road                   Concrete boat ramp with
                              (Rt. 187 on Guilford Creek)       parking
Muddy Creek (Berman’s) Pier   End of Muddy Creek Road           Pier for crabbing and fishing
                              (Rt. 683 near Bloxom)             with parking
Deep Creek Dock               End of Deep Creek Road            Dock with parking and
                              (Rt. 657 in the village of Deep   no ramp
                              Creek)
Folly Creek Landing           End of Folly Creek Road           Concrete boat ramp and
                              (Rt. 651 near the Village of      dock with parking
                              Daugherty)
Gargatha Landing              End of Gargatha Landing           Concrete boat ramp with
                              (Rt. 680 near Gargatha)           parking
Gladdings Landing (Muddy      End of Gladding Landing Road      Concrete boat ramp with
Creek North)                  (Rt. 685 near Bloxom)             parking
Guard’s Shore                 End of Guard’s Shore              Limited use concrete boat
                              (Rt. 684 near Bloxom)             ramp for car tops and shallow
                                                                draft boats with parking
Greenbackville Harbor         Off of Harbor Drive               Two concrete boat ramps with
                              (Rt. 3006 in the village of       rental slips and parking
                              Greenbackville)
Harborton Boat Ramp           Off of Harborton Road             Concrete boat ramp and dock
                              (Rt. 180 in the village of        with parking and restrooms,
                              Harborton)                        crabbing allowed off of
                                                                commercial dock only
Hammocks Boat Ramp          End of Hammock Road                 Concrete boat ramp and
                            (Rt. 788 near Sanford)              parking
Hunting Creek Pier          Off Hopkins Road                    Pier for crabbing and fishing
                            (Rt. 669 near the village of        with parking
                            Hopkins)
Johnson’s Wharf             End of Johnson’s Landing Road       Concrete boat ramp with
                            (Rt. 670 near the village of        parking
                            Leemont)
Kegotank Boat Ramp          End of Kegotank Road                Concrete boat ramp with
                            (Rt. 681 near Modest Town)          parking
Northside Chesconessex Dock End of Northside Road               Dock for watermen with
                            (Rt. 656 near the village of        parking
                            Chesconessex)
Old NASA Dock               End of Pierce Taylor Road           Limited use concrete boat
                            (Rt. 730 near the village of        ramp with parking and picnic
                            Asawoman)                           gazebo
Parkers Creek Landing       End of Fox Grove Road               Concrete boat ramp with
                            (Rt. 666 near the village of        parking
                            Pastoria)



                                                                                          9
Name of Water Access Point      Location                            Type of Facility

Pitts Creek                     End of Pitts Creek (Rt. 709 near    Concrete boat ramp with
                                the village of New Church)          parking
Queens Sound                    Off of Chincoteague Road (off the   Concrete boat ramp with
                                Route 175 causeway between          parking
                                Wattsville and Chincoteague)
Quinby Harbor                   Off of Harbor Point Road            Wide concrete boat ramp with
                                (Rt. 606 in the Town of Quinby)     rental slips and parking
Schooner Bay                    End of Bluebill Lane                Concrete boat ramp with
                                (Rt. 802 near Chesconessex)         parking
Southside Chesconessex          End of Southside Road               Concrete boat ramp with
                                (Rt. 649 near the village of        parking
                                Chesconessex)
Young’s Creek                   End of Young’s Creek Road           Limited use concrete boat
                                (Rt. 676 near Guilford)             ramp with parking


County Recreational Equipment Available for Rental:

Moon Walk
Cotton Candy Machine
Popcorn Machine
Snow Cone Machine
Fountain
Tents – One 12 foot x 20 foot and One 20 foot x 20 foot
Tables and Chairs




                                                                                              10
Accomack County Schools Recreational Facilities:

Chincoteague Elementary
Open Grounds
Playground Equipment
Small Gymnasium

Chincoteague High School
Football Field/Soccer Field
Baseball Field
Softball Field
Large Gymnasium/Weight Room

Arcadia High School
Football Field/Soccer Field
Baseball Field
Softball Field
Large gymnasium/Weight Room

Arcadia Middle School
Baseball Field/Pavilion/ Playground Equipment (shared with Arcadia High School)
Softball Field/ Concession Stand with Restrooms (shared with Arcadia High School)
Soccer Field
Gymnasium

Kegotank Elementary
Open Grounds/Little League Softball
Small Gymnasium
Small Playground Equipment/Soccer Field

Metompkin Elementary
Open Grounds/Soccer Field
Playground Equipment
Gymnasium

Accawmacke Elementary
Soccer Fields
Playground Equipment
Gymnasium

Nandua High
Football Field/Soccer Field
Baseball Field
Softball Field/Athletic Track/ Gymnasium/Weight Room
Tennis Court




                                                                                    11
Nandua Middle
Baseball Field
Softball Field
Soccer Field
Gymnasium
Pavilion
Playground Equipment
Soon to have concession stand w/ restrooms

Pungoteague Elementary
Playground Equipment
Soccer Field
Golf Driving Range
Small Gymnasium

Old Onancock School (owned by the Town of Onancock)
Soccer Field


Other Area Resources (see maps as indicated below):

Town Parks

In addition to the Wachapreague Park, there are five other parks owned by towns located within
Accomack County. These small municipal parks - located in Onancock, Chincoteague,
Hallwood, Melfa and Parksley - provide additional picnic shelters, pavilions, and playgrounds
for residents of the towns as well as for those County citizens who reside outside the towns’
limits and for visitors to Accomack County.

Seaside Water Trail (Exhibits 3a & 3b) – Eastern water trail for kayaking and other shallow draft
boats (Bayside Water Trail in development)

Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Coastal Trail (Exhibit 4)

Eastern Shore of Virginia Heritage Trail (Exhibit 5) - Driving tour of historic and scenic birding
and natural sites.

Assateague Island National Seashore (Exhibit 6)

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (Exhibit 6)

Saxis Island Wildlife Refuge, Community Fishing Pier and beaches

Tangier Community Pier and beaches

Onancock Town Harbor



                                                                                                 12
Chincoteague Community Center

New Church Rest Area and Picnic Facility

Resources being developed:

Eastern Shore of Virginia Bicycle Plan (Exhibit 7)

Recreation Memberships:

Private recreation facilities include the Eastern Shore YMCA, Eastern Shore Yacht and Country
Club, Onley Recreation Association, Captain’s Cove, and various private campgrounds located
throughout the county. Private campgrounds currently located in Accomack County include
Toms Cove Park, Maddox Family Campground, Pine Grove Campground, and Inlet View
Campgrounds – all located on Chincoteague Island – Chincoteague Bay Trails End Campground
in Horntown, Little Acres Campground in Bloxom, and Tall Pines Harbor Campground in
Sanford. Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort is also located on the Eastern Shore of
Virginia in Northampton County.


                   TYPES OF PROGRAMS AT EXISTING FACILITIES

The Wallops Park has been used by the Latino Soccer League, the Boys Scouts of America,
the U S Navy for their picnics and ballgames, and for family cookouts. This park also has a
Nature Trail that was just recently refurbished by the Boy Scouts. Playground equipment
and grills are also located at this site.

The Arcadia Ballfield Complex fielded our northern division of women’s and men’s softball.
Numerous groups practice on the field and have had picnics, family reunions, and class
reunions at this site.

The Pungoteague Golf Driving Range is located behind the Pungoteague Elementary School
in Melfa and is used extensively by golfers refining their hitting skills. Adult and youth
soccer are also played on the field located at Pungoteague Elementary School.

The Nandua Tennis facility is used daily by the community and school team. This facility
enabled the school to field a tennis team that they did not have before. The Y.M.C.A. has
contracted with the county to use the facility for classes and private lessons.

Recently, the use of several facilities was discontinued or there was a threat of
discontinuance. The Central Ballfield complex was the busiest facility that Accomack
County operated and was home to the southern division of men and women’s softball. The
park was used every weekend from April to November for family reunions, picnics, church
outings, youth flag football and school reunions. Several persons used the facility to host
banquets, birthday parties, and wedding receptions. This facility was sold by the county at
public auction in February, primarily due to concerns regarding the safe ingress and egress
out of the facility.


                                                                                              13
The Wachapreague Ballfield and Park is located in and owned by the Town of
Wachapreague, Virginia and is second only to Central for use for family reunions, church
outings, picnics, tennis courts and practice on the softball field. This facility is in use from
April to November for these functions. In 2006, the Town of Wachapreague initially was
unwilling to sign a long term lease with the county and the county did not feel they could
commit additional resources to maintaining this park without a long term commitment. After
intervention by a Board of Supervisors member and negotiations by county and town staff,
the Town agreed to sign a three year lease with the county. This lease expires December 31,
2009.

For many years, the Central Accomack Little League has maintained ball fields at the
Firemen’s Fairgrounds in Onancock. Recently, the Onancock Volunteer Fire Company
decided to sell the fairgrounds. They will continue to play at their current location for one
more year. They will begin playing at their new location – 9 Hartman Avenue in Onancock –
as soon as the fields are completed. The design of their new complex includes four fields,
with three of the four fields lighted.




                                                                                Facility Usage 2002-2007

                             2500




                             2000
      Estimated # of Users




                             1500                                                                                                                             2002
                                                                                                                                                              2003
                                                                                                                                                              2004
                                                                                                                                                              2005
                                                                                                                                                              2006
                             1000                                                                                                                             2007




                             500




                               0
                                    Wallops Park   Arcadia Ballfield   Wachapreague       Pungoteague     Central Ballfield   Nandua Tennis   Nandua Middle
                                                      Complex          Ballfield & Park   Driving Range     Complex               Court
                                                                                   Parks & Recreation Facility




                                                                                                                                                                 14
                      SPRING/SUMMER PROGRAMS

1) Adult Men’s Softball League
   This league starts in May and usually ends in early August. The length of the
   season depends on the number of teams that are participating in the league. These
   games are played Monday through Thursday. The men’s softball league has
   approximately 200 participants.




2) Adult Women’s Softball League
   This league is conducted along the same lines as the men’s league. The women’s
   softball league has approximately 100 participants.

3) Summer Playground Program
   The summer playground program offers weekday recreational opportunities for
   children ages five to thirteen at various sites throughout the county. The program
   typically runs for seven weeks from approximately mid June to early August and
   had 412 youth enrolled in 2007. The summer playground program also provides
   participants with free nutritious breakfasts and lunches through USDA, with more
   than 23,000 breakfasts and 25,000 lunches served during this period.




                                                                                   15
4) Adult Soccer League
   This league is played on Sundays, running from May through October. The adult
   soccer league is a major source of recreation for the growing Latino population in
   the area. The Adult Soccer League had twelve teams with over 200 participants
   and tremendous fan and family support. Plans are being made to implement a
   youth summer soccer league.

5) Parks, Playgrounds and Golf Driving Range
   These facilities are maintained through the grass growing season and are open to
   the public year round.

    Co-ed volleyball and the ladies spring volleyball league are two of the other
    programs that are provided during the spring and summer. These programs are
    determined by their demand. The Senior Citizen Extravaganza, with over 280
    senior citizens participating, and the Annual Egg Hunt, with 175 youth
    participating, are some of the other events that are well attended. The tennis
    courts located at Nandua are also used daily.




                         FALL/WINTER PROGRAMS

1) Youth Basketball
   This program is open to both boys and girls between the ages of six (6) and fifteen
   (15). The leagues are divided into age groups of 6-8, 9-12, and 13-15. An
   additional 15-17 boys basketball league has been added. The department begins
   sign-ups in late October with games running through March. One hundred and
   forty four (144) youth participated in youth basketball this season.

2) Adult Basketball
   The season runs from December through mid-March depending on the number of
   teams. Ninety (90) adults were enrolled in adult basketball this season.



                                                                                     16
   3) Ladies Fall Volleyball
      Sign-ups and practice begins in October with games running from November
      depending on the number of teams. This season 96 ladies participated.

   4) Coat, Sweater, and Bicycle Drive
      The department collects new and slightly used coats and sweaters that can be
      picked up free during the winter months. Bikes are collected and repaired and are
      given away the Saturday before Christmas by lottery.

   5) Youth Soccer
      The league for children was a tremendous success. The league runs from
      September through November with age ranges of 4 to 6, 7 to 9 and 10 to 14.
      Youth and parents both enjoyed this new league which had 186 youth enrolled in
      the first season. Plans are being made to implement a summer soccer league.


                                     New Programs

Youth Football – Youth Football was discontinued many years ago due to concerns
regarding safety, liability and sportsmanship. While there is currently a Little League
Football program on Chincoteague, the lack of a youth football program readily
accessible to the entire county where youth age 7 to 13 can learn the game has put our
freshman high school football players at a disadvantage. Tony Washington, a member of
the Accomack County Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission and retired football
coach, is heading up an effort to rebuild this program and worked with the Parks and
Recreation staff to survey the parents at the county’s elementary and middle schools to
determine their interest in establishing a youth football program. More than 200 parents
responded that they would be interested in the program. Fundraising efforts have begun
and the goal is to start the new program by the Fall of 2008.

Cheerleading – A cheerleader program is being organized. This program is being
implemented to coincide with the youth football league. Youth eligible to participate are
age 7 to 13.

                                    Other Activities

The department promotes education along with recreation, because knowledge and
recreation together helps to develop a more well-rounded citizen for the County. Staff
members from the Parks and Recreation Department participate in Health Fairs, special
activities held at the public schools, and provide services for other agencies when they
are hosting events (educational booths, snacks, services, etc.). The department also
collaborates with other local agencies in securing grant funding and other activities that
are beneficial to the citizens of Accomack County including the Nutrition & Fitness Day,
Gateway Academy, After School Programs, etc. More than eighty preschoolers (age 3 to
5 years) participate in the Preschool Olympics.



                                                                                        17
The Parks and Recreation Department assists the Eastern Shore News each year with
their annual Bank of Cheer program - packing the boxes and helping with the delivery of
the boxes the week before Christmas. The staff assists Vernon Bell with his Sea-Side ½
Marathon, the first Saturday in December. This is an annual event that has been held
every year since 1982 and benefits the Association for Mentally Retarded Citizens of the
Eastern Shore. The department also collects and distributes school supplies for needy
children in the County and provides major staff support to the County’s Annual
Employee Picnic.




                                                                                       18
           SUMMARY AND IMPACTS OF EXISTING CONDITIONS

An analysis of the existing conditions of the Accomack County Parks and Recreation
Department points out many assets and also many opportunities. Assets include an
experienced and dedicated staff with the ability and willingness to do what they have
to do to stretch limited resources; a good working relationship with the county schools
which has allowed the co-location of facilities; strong support from the local
community including substantial in-kind donations of and/or discounts on needed
goods and services; dedicated volunteers who referee, coach, sell concessions, take
admission, etc. at evening and weekend events; and the many natural resources that
are located throughout the county. Currently, the office is staffed by a full-time
Director of Parks and Recreation, a full-time Programs Administrator, a full-time
Special Events Coordinator, a full-time Recreation Specialist, a full-time Laborer
Crew Leader, and a number of part-time, seasonal staff.

The current county population of approximately 35,000 is projected to increase to
more than 40,000 by 2020. Senior citizens and persons who identify themselves as
Hispanic/Latino are the groups projected to experience the largest growth. This
projected 14% increase in overall population growth and resulting development will
likely raise the price of land and reduce the availability of the land needed for parks
and recreation uses. These changes present challenges to the county to provide new
Parks and Recreation opportunities for current and future residents. Marketing efforts
will need to be targeted to the special needs of these populations as well.

The 2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan reiterates that our region is rich in natural resources
and has great potential for recreational opportunities. Our most urgent needs are for
athletic fields, basketball and volleyball courts, and trails for walking, jogging and
bicycles. Applicable pages of the plan which detail the needs of our region are
included at the end of this section. The entire document may be viewed at
www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/vop.shtml.

With the loss of the Central Facility and the near loss of Wachapreague Park, the
department is finding it increasingly difficult to provide recreational programs in the
southern portion of the county. This lack of facilities affects over 8,000 people in four
districts. For this reason, the county recently purchased 14 acres adjacent to the old
Central Middle School site to develop a new facility. This property has better highway
access and will be a much safer and more up to date alternative to the facility that was
previously located Central Middle School.

There are other areas of the county that are also underserved, including the Metompkin
magisterial district in central Accomack County (see Exhibit 8). Parks and Recreation
staff members are currently investigating the possibility of co-locating ball and soccer
fields on the Metompkin Elementary School grounds in Parksley. There is also a need
for a tennis facility at Arcadia High School like the one located at Nandua High
School. The land that the current Wallops Park is sited on will eventually be absorbed



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as part of the Wallops Island Research Park development. This recreational land will
need to be replaced and planning for the future recreational needs of the Northern
section of the county, currently the fastest growing area in the county, will need to take
place.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission would also like to see the County’s
docks and ramps further developed to increase recreational use and development. The
Old NASA Dock, is an example of a current facility which is designed to encourage
public use. Additional funding needs to be provided to update and maintain these
valuable county resources.

The Accomack County Parks and Recreation staff maintains 102 acres of parks and
ball fields throughout the County. The possibility of shifting this responsibility to
another county department, like Public Works, has been considered. However,
because of the need to have staff that is specifically trained to properly mow and line
the ball fields and the need for timely maintenance of these facilities, it is
recommended that the Parks and Recreation Department continue to maintain these
facilities. An additional half-time laborer position was requested in the FY2009
budget; however, it was later removed from the proposed budget due concerns
regarding revenue shortfalls.

Presently, the Parks and Recreation Department does not have their own centrally
located facility designed specifically for recreational uses. The department uses an
assortment of public schools and public facilities for programs, leagues and classes.
The use of these facilities is currently arranged on a use by use basis, is dependent on
the availability of the facility which can be seasonally limited, and some of the
locations are inconvenient for county residents. Because the schedule of the entity
that owns the facility takes priority, Parks and Recreation programs and activities can
also get “bumped” due to unexpected or weather related schedule changes. This puts
the county in a challenging position to provide recreation programs in accessible
locations to serve current and future residents. The current leased Parks and
Recreation Office is also inadequate and the department has equipment stored at
scattered locations throughout the county due to limited office space. The Accomack
County Parks and Recreation Commission considers taking concrete steps toward
establishing a central Parks and Recreation Office/Facility their number one priority.

Other areas that have been identified for improvement include developing a system to
better capture data regarding Parks and Recreation participation; the need for
additional maintenance staff in order to allow trained Parks and Recreation personnel
to focus on provision of services; development of a more extensive volunteer program
to recruit weekday volunteers; evaluation of equipment rental and other fund raising
efforts to determine whether the income being produced is sufficient to warrant the
staff costs; and an increase in operating funds received from the county so that funds
raised by staff may be used more effectively to expand services and address capital
needs.



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It has also been suggested that current fees be evaluated and that a marketing plan be
developed to better market Parks and Recreation services and facilities. The current
Parks and Recreation staff does a good job of marketing the various Parks and
Recreation programs including radio ads and interviews, newspaper articles,
communications to schools and churches, and their webpage on the county website
(www.co.accomack.va.us/parks_home.html). Other suggestions made by the
Advisory Commission include a seasonal newspaper insert, an insert in the YMCA
mailings, a booklet listing all available services placed in the libraries, and a regular
mailing to all churches and civic groups within the county.

A survey of county residents also needs to be conducted to determine whether current
recreational facilities and programs are meeting the needs of Accomack County
residents and what additional recreational services should be added. Suggestions from
staff include more wellness and fitness programs for youth and adults; before school
and extended after school hours for the after school programs; classes in arts and
crafts, dance, tai-chi and karate; mini-health fairs for senior citizens; a youth tennis
program; and a Training Our Youth Program to teach life skills to youth in grades six
through eight. A citizen has also suggested that a disc golf course be constructed at
the county’s new ball field complex.

Finally, efforts must be made to identify and utilize all potential sources of funding for
these new programs and capital improvements. These include donated land for future
recreational facilities, grant and foundation funding, adopt a park programs, new fund
raising efforts, redesigned fee structures, etc. Much can be learned by talking with
and visiting other successful rural programs across the state. If the county’s
recreational needs are going to be met in the near future, a thoughtful and focused
multi-year capital campaign with full participation by all the stakeholders must take
place.




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Region 22 Accomack–Northampton




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PLAN OF ACTION

Accomack County faces numerous challenges to provide parks and recreation
opportunities for the community with the increase in population, development pressures
and a lack of facilities to meet our needs. However, the proactive leadership of
Accomack County should and will meet these needs. County staff, elected officials and
the Accomack County Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission need to plan for
current and future parks, open spaces, programs, leagues, indoor and outdoor facilities
and cultural amenities. These plans may relate to a particular topic but, together they will
form a comprehensive approach to improving the quality of life for Accomack County
residents. We must provide a full array of recreational opportunities for Accomack
County citizens.

ACTION ITEMS

1 – Acquire Land and Construct a Central Parks and Recreation Facility

As the population of Accomack continues to grow, the demand for new and additional
programs, space, and extended hours of operation grows as well. Our current recreational
program shares space with the Accomack County Schools and this arrangement is not
entirely suited for the increased demand for recreation programs. A central location
should be developed that is flexible in its ability to run numerous programs at different
times, contains multi-purpose space, can be easily managed, and provides easy access for
County residents. This facility need to include space for indoor and outdoor recreation
that includes formal and informal activities, structured leagues, classes and county
meetings.

The intent of a central parks and recreation facility will provide a place for physical and
social interaction in a controlled and safe environment to enhance community and
personal growth. This facility should provide for the wellness needs of all groups,
reflecting both organized and self-scheduled desires for recreation, and be accessible to
all residents. This facility should be compatible with the County’s natural qualities and
friendly down-home character. The facility should address the needs of youth and seniors
as these groups are anticipated to grow by 80% in the future. The development of a
central parks and recreation facility has been identified by the Parks and Recreation
Advisory Committee as their number one priority.

Recommended Components of Recreation Facility

In order to meet current recreational needs and to provide recreation for a growing
population, the ideal recreational facility should include four lighted tennis courts and the
following athletic fields:




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                                                        Min.    # of   Approx.
Sport                   Field Dimensions                Acreage Fields Acreage
                        325-ft radial arc from
Softball                backstop                        2          2        4
Baseball (little        200-ft radial arc from
league)                 backstop                        0.75       2        1.5
Soccer (U-14/Adult)     110 yds X 70 yds                1.8        3        5.4
Soccer (U-10)           70 yds x 40 yds                 0.6        2        1.2
Soccer (U-6)            30 yds X 15 yds                 0.1        2        0.2
Volleyball (Sand)       29.5 ft x 59 ft                 0.05       1        0.05
                                                                   Total:   10.35

In addition, the facility must provide parking, bathrooms, storage facilities, concession
facilities, bleachers/spectator seats, irrigation, surface drainage features, buffer zones,
access areas, and additional activity areas.

  Additional Provision                  Description                 Min. Acreage
 Parking                     2 1-acre lots                        2
 Central Facility            Bathrooms/Storage/Concessions        0.25
 Perimeter Buffers           100 ft around complex                5.75
 Access                      900 ft x 25 ft rd                    0.5
 Additional Activities       Commons Area                         0.25
 Open area between fields    Field buffers and access             5
                             Total:                               13.75

Approximate Cost of Central Recreational Facility Construction

The construction and design of the recreational facility grounds will encompass the
majority of the costs. The complex should be professionally designed in order to ensure
proper ground cover, irrigation, and overall athletic field quality. Examples of good
athletic complex design can be found at the end of the document. Additional costs for the
athletic fields and the cost of the tennis courts are outlined below:

Ball Fields:
       ITEM                                           ESTIMATED COST
       Galvanized steel poles with lights (6 poles)   $ 12,500.00
       Fencing and tubing                             $ 25,000.00
       Backstop                                       $ 3,200.00
       Concession stand with bathrooms                $ 75,000.00
       Dugouts                                        $ 4,000.00
       Bleachers                                      $ 11,000.00
       Electric scoreboard                            $ 2,800.00
       Maintenance                                    $ 4,000.00
       Playground Equipment                           $ 30,000.00


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Soccer Fields:
       ITEM                                           ESTIMATED COST
       Soccer Goals (3pr Adult)                       $ 8,400.00 ($ 1,400.00 per goal)
       Soccer Goals (2pr U-10)                        $ 4,000.00 ($ 1,000.00 per goal)
       Soccer Goals (2pr U-6)                         $ 2,000.00 ($ 500.00 per goal)
       Nets (7 prs)                                   $ 2.300.00
       Flags (7 sets)                                 $   420.00

Volleyball Court:
      ITEM                                            ESTIMATED COST
      Wood Posts                                      $   200.00
      Outdoor Net                                     $ 100.00

Lighted Tennis Courts:                                $ 56,000.00


Total costs for this facility will be dependent upon the cost of land acquisition and the
final design.

2 – Construct Southern Park with a Playground and Ballfields.

With the loss of the Central Middle School facility, there is currently no Parks and
Recreation facility located in the extreme southern end of Accomack County. Because
the county is located on the Delmarva Peninsula, Accomack County is long and narrow
with more than forty miles separating one end of the county from the other. While a
Central Parks and Recreation facility will help to serve the needs of residents in the
southern end of Accomack County, it is the goal of the Parks and Recreation Department
to locate facilities within a five to ten minute drive for most citizens. With this in mind,
the county recently purchased 14 acres of land adjacent to the old Parks and Recreation
facility with funds that had previously been set aside for this purpose.

A level site with good drainage of twenty to twenty five acres of land would be needed in
order to accommodate a playground, ball fields, restrooms, concessions and parking.
Construction costs would be similar to those for the grounds of the central facility with
the addition of a playground and playground equipment. Although dependent on the final
design, total costs for this facility, including the $168,000 that has already been spent to
purchase the land, are estimated to be $398,000.

3 - Cooperate with A-NPDC to Implement the Eastern Shore Bicycle Plan

The Eastern Shore Bicycle Plan was developed to identify future bicycle routes that will
improve safety for bicyclists and maintain traffic capacity for other vehicles. The focus of
the 2002 Eastern Shore Bicycle Plan is to provide a safe bicycle route with paved
shoulders from Maryland to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This route, which
would not be located on Route 13 for safety reasons, would connect existing communities



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and recreational facilities. Potential bicycle routes will include shared lanes, wide outside
lanes, paved shoulders, designated bicycle lanes, and separate shared use paths. The
bicycle routes will be made possible by the modification of existing highway department
shoulders and right-of-way acquisitions, mainly focusing on Route 679, Route 605 and
Route 600. The plan also includes paved shoulders along Route 175 to Chincoteague and
a separate multiple use path between Onancock and Onley that ends at the Nandua
schools. The plan encourages use of the Eastern Shore Railroad right-of-way as a rail
trail, if the right-of-way ever becomes available. Once implemented, the bicycle routes
will serve as a recreational means of transportation throughout the Eastern Shore,
connecting towns and communities with schools, businesses, and recreational facilities.

Implementation strategies should include encouraging and supporting communities to
plan and develop bike route segments as conceptually outlined in the bike plan, using
grants, private sector donations, and community fund raising efforts. The bicycle plan
will also play an important role in tourism, therefore collaboration with the Eastern Shore
Tourism Commission to promote bike tours and other biking activities is strongly
recommended.

Estimated cost (not including right-of-way acquisition) to develop 10-ft wide paved bike
trail is $190,000.00 per mile.

4 – Completion of Community Survey and Development of New Programs

The Accomack Parks and Recreation Department intends to develop new programs when
the needed facilities are available. County residents need to be surveyed to determine
whether current programs are meeting their needs and determine what new services
should be offered. Funds need to be budgeted to contract with one of the state
universities’ research groups to conduct this community wide survey.

Recreational needs identified by the staff and the Commission include programs which
address the special needs of the County’s senior citizens, persons with disabilities, youth,
and Hispanic/Latino groups. County citizens also need more walking and exercise
programs to benefit the health of our overall community. Specialized programs are
needed to combat the prevalent problems of obesity, diabetes and poor health here on the
Shore. Suggestions include daycare programs and extended summer programs for youth;
educational and fitness programs that include, but are not limited to health, nutrition and
fitness; chair and wheelchair oriented exercise and sports programs; track and field
programs for youth and adults; water safety programs for waterman and recreational
boaters; disc golf; youth tennis; bowling; classes in dance and arts and crafts; and life
skills training,

Cycling and bike trails are becoming much more popular in our County. There is
potential for a new soccer complex and a walking trail at Metompkin Elementary School.
The county will need to partner with other area recreation and human service
organizations such as the Y.M.C.A., Boys and Girls Club, A.A.R.P., Eastern Shore Area



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Agency on Aging, Eastern Shore Center for Independent Living, and the Special
Olympics to maximize resources and ensure that the needs of all population groups are
addressed.


5 – Provide Additional Staffing and Operational Funding

New programs and facilities will require additional staff support and funding. It is
projected that the following new full-time staff positions will need to be funded over the
next ten years:

JOB TITLE                NUMBER        STARTING
                         OF            SALARY
                         PERSONS
Athletic Coordinator     1             $28,000.00
Event Coordinator        1             $28,000.00
Groundskeeper            1             $20,938.00
Maintenance Worker       1             $20,938.00

Additional part-time staff and volunteers may also be needed in order to provide
extended hours and staff evening and weekend activities.




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Examples of Ideal Facilities




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Kent County, Maryland
  Athletic Complex




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Central Accomack Little League Site Master Plan




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