On any given day, at any give hour, you can find countless people on Wilmington's walking trails, tennis courts, and other facilities maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department. Department leaders are creating a Master Plan for 2009-2014 and held their first public input meeting Monday night. They want to hear comments and suggestions about the future goals and objectives of the program. The Mater Plan will focus on what new parks and recreation programs, services, and areas to provide, along with what changes to existing ones, and how to pay for all of it. Suggestions at Monday's meeting included a petting zoo at Greenfield Park, more soccer fields, better-lit fields, a natatorium, and more bike trails. Most people WWAY spoke with in Halyburton Park Monday evening said they were very satisfied with the parks and recreation facilities they use, but there's always room for improvement. Kelly Lawson often rollerbaldes through Halyburton Park. She said, "I'd kind of like the sign that says 'bike and foot traffic only' to be reworded a little, 'cause I've had a few people fuss at me for rollerblading 'cause apparently rollerblading is kind of looped in with skaboarding and running people over and stuff." Fred Bingham walks along Halyburton Park's walking trail. He wants to see a chance in how people cross the busy South 17th St. to get to the park. "There's people that come from right across the street and in order to get to this park they have to either take a cross a busy street where there's no crosswalk or anything, or else drive," he said. Frank White and his wife take nightly walks at Halyburton Park and are starting to get concerned as it gets darker earlier. "The only thing that we would like to see is perhaps some lighting, so that especially during daylight saving time, we can come out and still get our three laps in each evening," said White. There will be a second public input meeting on November 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the MLK Jr. Community Center at 401 South 8th St. You can submit comments to the following people: Tara Duckworth, Superintendent of Wilmington's Parks and Recreation Division: 910-341-4612, Tara.Duckworth@wilmingtonnc.gov Jim Herstine, Ph.D, Consultant for the Master Plan: 910-962-3283, firstname.lastname@example.org
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