Siler City parks honored, honors others

Posted 3/8/19

SILER CITY — The Siler City Parks and Recreation Department announced on Monday at the Siler City Board of Commissioners meeting that it was featured in Recre8 North Carolina Magazine, a …

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Siler City parks honored, honors others

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SILER CITY — The Siler City Parks and Recreation Department announced on Monday at the Siler City Board of Commissioners meeting that it was featured in Recre8 North Carolina Magazine, a publication of the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association.

The feature, entitled “Siler City: Small Town, Smaller Resources, Evolving to Make a Big Impact,” was written by Siler City Parks and Recreation Director Joseph Keel by the request of the magazine.

“With limited resources but big visions, the department has accomplished major renovations to its parks and facilities, doubled participation numbers and enhanced the perception of the Parks and Recreation Department,” Keel wrote in the piece.

The piece then outlines all the ways Keel and his team, which include several new staff members, took the opportunity to “look at the challenges with a new perspective” to build the department. This included expanding the t-ball program, bringing the program in-house, which allowed the department to make clear schedules, ensure background checks for coaches, and training for officials.

This coincided with significant improvements to the Bray Parks Sports Complex at 700 Alston Bridge Road, including improvements to the fields and regular maintenance. The department is now working on securing funding to replace outdated lighting at the park.

In addition to athletic programs, the department focused on making improvements to the parks. This included painting shelters, replacing fencing, installing new equipment, and updating outdated signs. These improvements provided were highly visible and created a “buzz” in town.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment for Keel in his tenure was the completion of the Aquatic Center at Bray Park, a million dollar renovation to the swimming pool originally built in 1953. The project, which struggled some during construction, opened to rave reviews last year. To financially support the project, the town coordinated with a consultant to launch a major campaign to raise money.

“We are honored to be the featured Parks and Recreation Department in the N.C. Recreation & Park Association 2018 Winter magazine,” Keel said. “We are humbled to be recognized as an outstanding professional Parks and Recreation Department and will continue to strive for exceptional experiences for our citizens and patrons. Our staff is truly knocking it out of the park.”

After announcing the department’s honoring with Recre8 North Carolina Magazine Monday, Keel presented mock-ups of two plaques that will be placed at the Aquatic Center at Bray Park. The first of which will honor the contributors who pledged more than $20,000 to rebuild the pool. The Wren Foundation, Brookwood Farms, the Alan D. Resch Family, Chatham Hospital, Christina L. Fisher and the Siler City Rotary Club will all be honored on the plaque which will sit prominently inside the building.

A second plaque honoring the leadership team for the renovation will also be created. That plaque honors the Mayor, the Board of Commissioners, the town staff, the contractors and engineers that worked on the project. That plaque will be placed right beside the original copper plaque on the outside of the building which honored the leadership for the pool’s original construction. Both plaques are being made by local business Chatham Monument.

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