The Pender County Commission is working with the community to build more parks. In addition to filling the gap in the lack of green space, residents say a park would provide a productive outlet for kids.
“When we open the paper, we see that there’s desperately a need. They don’t have nothing to do, and the main attraction in Burgaw for them is the courthouse, the jailhouse and the prison house,” said Johnny Stringfield.
According to the most recent statistics published by the state Department of Justice, for the second year in a row, overall crime in Pender County is up. The hope is that more parks would mean less crime.
Pastor Ben Artis said, “We see a lot of young children come and go. We see them come up, grow up, get teenagers and they’re off to jail. We feel if we had some kind of entertainment, some kind of recreation, to keep their minds occupied, to keep them doing something, then they wouldn’t get in so much trouble.”
Artis has offered up a portion of three acres of land he owns to the county for a basketball court. The planning board is looking at zoning to see if it is allowed, so that a solution might come sooner than the board’s 2010 timeline.
Still, county officials say, a new park is in Pender’s future; just how to get the funding and where the park will be are both still question marks.
The new park plan is set to be discussed at the Pender County Parks and Recreation’s next meeting on November 19th.