2017-04-05 / Living

Kiwanis Club speaker talks about Person County parks

Jeremy Royster 
submitted Jeremy Royster submitted At the Feb. 20, meeting of the Roxboro Kiwanis Club held at Clarksville Station restaurant, Jeremy Royster, a Person High School and Appalachian State University graduate and the current Mayo Lake Park outdoor division supervisor for the Person County Recreation, Arts and Parks Department, updated the club on the activities of his area of responsibility.

Royster highlighted the Friends of the Parks program. The program has a mission to promote and encourage maximum public recreational use of the available facilities in Person County, for both Personians and visitors.

The local Friends program is modeled after a similar statewide program.

Royster noted that there nine passive recreation areas throughout the county. At Mayo Lake there are 30 campsites and a number of other facilities.

The Friends program was formed by the Recreation Advisory Board and its first public event was a Morgan Long Fishing Day. Participating in that initial effort was 125 students. The event was free of charge and included a hot dog meal for the participants.

Royster said that giving kids the experience is the primary reason for the event.

A Halloween festival was sponsored, which involved a movie at the Mayo Park amphitheater and attracted 150 attendees, and included a pumpkin carving station and other crafting opportunities.

The ultimate goal is to use all of the parks for similar programs.

Royster said there is a park available in every township throughout the county adding that public input is important. Friends board meetings are held monthly, and recent discussions have included the possibility of creating trails from old abandoned rail corridors.

Advocacy is a current focus of the Friends program. Parks provide a better quality of life and create tourism, said Royster. Records show that patrons of Person County facilities came from as far away as Rhode Island last year.

Exercise is important to health and parks can also contribute to maintaining the quality of neighborhoods, said Royster. The availability of parks is an economic development factor as well, he added.

Royster reminded the audience that movies are held monthly at Mayo Park and there are always ongoing improvements.

For example, the present Huck Sansbury park dates back to a baseball league that was established in the 1940s, but has undergone a number of positive changes in the succeeding decades. He reminded the club that Person County has the distinction of being the oldest county recreation department in the state, with programs that began in the 1940s.

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