Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Groups pitch in to aid area parks, make up for dwindling government funds

A group of local mountain bikers wanted to fix up some all-but-abandoned trails on county land, so they did most of the work themselves.

A disc golf club saw there were no courses in the area, and they raised money to build one in a county park.

Then a group of dog lovers who had some cash left over from a fundraising event used it to give their county’s park system its first dog park.

In New Hanover and Brunswick counties, nonprofits and community groups often pick up where local governments leave off.

Their money and free labor are giving government-funded parks amenities that probably would not be available otherwise, especially in hard economic times. In return, these groups get the amenities they want and the bragging rights to help push membership numbers up.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” said Dave George, president of the New Hanover Disc Golf Club.

George said he and the 45 or so other club members have no problem trimming bushes, shoveling dirt for drainage and cutting limbs to keep the 6,676-foot, par 64 course up and running. It means they can keep the course just the way they want it, even if it is located within the 50 acres of New Hanover County’s Castle Hayne Park.

New Hanover County Parks director Jim McDaniel said he’s glad the club built the course and uses their expertise to maintain it properly. He’s met people who traveled from Raleigh specifically to play there, which means it’s drawing visitors and giving recognition to the area.

How these organization-motivated and government-approved amenities evolve is a case study in their relationships.

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Ken KeeganReal Estate Broker(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Mewww.KenKeegan.com

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