Bath Parks & Rec Looking For Community Input

Warm Springs, Va – The Bath County Parks and Recreation Department is putting it in writing. The Department is developing a policy manual and is looking for input from the community. Mark Nelson is the Director of Bath County Parks and Rec.

“These aren’t my programs; these programs belong to the community” he says. “For me to sit down and make a set of policies and my staff to help me make a set of policies and not ask the people we’re doing this for how they feel and would they like to see something changed, would they like to us to add something, you have to have their input. These programs are for them; if they’re not happy with them the policies are no good to us. We want to do what’s right for the kids, what’s right for the community and the policies will help us do that.”

Parks and Rec Department policies have always existed, but they’ve never been in writing or in one book. The department had rule books and policies from Alleghany County and Covington that it used when playing sports. The policy manual has been in the works for a couple of years. Nelson recently held public meetings to give people a chance to offer suggestions and to give them a chance to understand how parks and rec came up with policies.

“The people there started to understand there’s not necessarily a right or wrong” he says. “It’s what can I do that benefits the biggest part of the community. Every choice you make you’re not going to benefit everybody because if you benefit one somewhere down the road it’s not going to benefit another. All we can do is what we can do for the majority. It gave people the opportunity to talk about that and understand this is why it’s like this.”

Nelson says the policy manual will be an ongoing process. There will always be something new to add. This is the first time the parks and rec department has held public meetings like this and Nelson hopes it won’t be the last time. He says the meetings help him make the programs the way the community wants them.

“Even after these policies and procedures are done, if the board approves it, I’ll have these meetings every year” says Nelson. “It gives me a way to get people talking, it lets me tell people this is what’s going on, this is why these sports run this way. It gives me the opportunity to tell people and to show them I don’t make decisions just because I can.”

The policy manual covers all that Bath County Parks and Rec has to offer. Including baseball, football, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, girls volleyball, adult women’s volleyball, mixed league volleyball, adult softball, T ball and coach pitch. And facilities including a skate park, four tennis courts and two swimming pools.

Nelson will discuss the new policy manual with the Bath Board of Supervisors at its monthly meeting on Tuesday February 8.

Copies of the draft policy manual are at the Parks and Rec office near Valley Elementary School. For more information you can call the office at 839-7211.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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