The Botetourt Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Friday to consider whether to add a new section to the county’s Comprehensive Plan— a section that got the endorsement of the Planning Commission when it met last week.

The new section is titled Parks, Recreation, Greenways and Blueways and deals specifically with the recreational facilities and programs the county now has and what the future should hold based on an online survey of county residents.

The five-year plan also includes recommendations for $2.15 million in capital projects related to expanding current facilities and developing greenways within the county.

Most of that funding— $1.14 million— is targeted for a variety of projects at Greenfield Recreation Park, including $257,000 to complete adding two new softball/baseball fields.

There’s also recommended funding for a picnic shelter, lighting for two of the soccer fields, a portable concession/restroom area and additional parking for the soccer fields, four tennis courts and lighting.

Another $330,000 is recommended for restrooms and expanding seating and dugouts for the main field at the Botetourt Sports Complex.

Another $500,000 is proposed for planning and developing greenways in the county, including matching funds for grants, over the next 5 years.

The rest— $175,000 over the five years— is dedicated to continuing the county’s Recreation Incentive Fund program.

The proposed 12-page addition to the Comprehensive Plan outlines a variety of goals and strategies to meet those goals.

According to the draft document, the survey responses (269 of them) highlighted the need to better promote county resources, to improve the website, expand greenways and trails, update playground equipment, expand program offerings, add tennis courts, expand equestrian trails,  and preserve open space and natural areas.

That became one of the goals with the objective of continuing to engage in long-term, strategic planning for county recreational resources by creating an updated countywide parks and recreation master plan.

In doing so, the plan recommends ensuring there’s coordination between recreational and economic development objectives during the updates for the Botetourt Center at Greenfield

According to the citizens’ survey, one-third of survey respondents said Greenfield Park (which includes walking trails and the Botetourt Sports Complex) was their favorite county park, site, feature or amenity.

Another objective is to enhance communications with Botetourt residents and visitors about recreation projects, services and issues.

“The results from the community survey reveal a need to better market existing amenities, improve the Recreation and Facilities webpage and improve park signage and maps,” the draft plan says.

To do that, the plan recommends expanding community relations opportunities to inform and educate the community on park and recreation benefits, values and accessibility by clearly identifying appropriate channels for the public to obtain information

The plan also recommends evaluating physical signage, directions and maps in conjunction with digital maps and online directions; communicating recreational amenities located at school sites, and continuing to ensure adequate and useful technologies and resources to serve customers when, where and how it is convenient for them.

Another objective is to continue to improve and promote access to parks and recreational opportunities.

The plan recommends continuing to use and promote county school facilities as important recreational amenities by:

  • Evaluating facilities for American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance
  • Providing bicycle and pedestrian connections from county recreational resources to neighborhoods, employment centers, shopping areas, and public schools.
  • Working with neighboring jurisdictions, state and federal entities to improve connections and access points to public lands and waters.

The draft plan also recommends upgrading, maintaining and expanding trails, greenways and blueways throughout the county.

This would be done by developing several types of trails, ensuring the trail type matches the needs of the community. Those would include Park Trails, Connector Trails. Greenways, Alternative Use Trails (mountain biking, horseback riding and ATVs) and Blueways or Water Trails.

Strategies to do this include:

  • Maintaining an updated inventory and digital maps of existing greenway, blueway and trail infrastructure
  • As a locality, establishing a countywide greenways, blueways and trails plan that guides future development

A major component of the draft plan is the recommendation to develop a greenway system that serves as the backbone for a network of trails and amenities throughout the county.

This would be accomplished by increasing public awareness of the benefits of greenways, that includes economic, environmental, health and recreation and alternative transportation benefits.

The plan also recommends the county continue to participate in Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission to ensure local planning efforts are aligned with the regional vision, and to encourage developers to contribute to the greenway system by dedicating land or easements and/or constructing portions of the greenway.

The last objective is to continue to seek funding for recreational improvements.

The public hearing on the proposed addition to the Comprehensive Plan is at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Greenfield Education &Training Center.

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