Wendell business owner wants more rec opportunities

jwhitfield@newsobserver.comJanuary 31, 2014 

— How can the town make better use of its parks and rec facilities? That was the question Regina Harmon asked town commissioners to debate at last week’s town board meeting.

Harmon, the owner of The Total Connection in downtown Wendell, told commissioners that tournaments held in Wendell last year proved successful, bringing people into Wendell who spent their money at downtown businesses and shops.

But Harmon also questioned whether the department is doing all it can to maximize the use of its facilities.

Citing concerns about limited availability and questioning the use of town facilities by a for-profit company, Harmon asked town commissioners to review the work of its parks and rec department with an eye toward how it can offer more services.

Harmon undertook a study of her own prior to Monday night’s presentation. She compared the staffing levels and programming of five different towns, including Wendell, Knightdale, Zebulon, Clayton and Selma.

Harmon said those towns are offering more programming with no more staffing than Wendell has.

“In most towns, the Parks and Recreation Department organizes all community events such as festivals, farmers markets, parades, movie nights, which here the Wendell Chamber of Commerce and other local organizatiosn provide,” Harmon said.

Harmon said she didn’t advocate having the town’s parks and recreation department assuming responsibility for existing events, but she did say town leaders could make better use of its facilities.

“Is it fair that we rent out part of the community center nine months out of the year to a for-profit company, making those spaces unavailable to anyone else?” Harmon said. She also asked the town to consider what it could do to lure large organizations like the East Wake Soccer Association back to town facilities.

Harmon also said the town needs to increase the scope of its services to attract future residents of Wendell Falls. “If we do not set things in motion now and use our resources to help all businesses and our community everywhere, then when Wendell Falls finally is set up and going, they will,” Harmon said.

Commissioners had no response to Harmon’s comments, except to say they would study the questions she posed and consider them.

Whitfield: 919-829-4823; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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