Voters to decide $15 million park bond

Voters to decide $15 million park bond
September 29
07:45 2016



The public will weigh in on a $15 million Forsyth County park bond when it goes to the polls for this year’s general election.

Forsyth County Parks and Recreation maintains nine parks around the county, eight of which will receive money from the bond if it’s ratified by voters. It’s the smallest of three county bonds on the ballot and the first county parks bond referendum in decades. It deals with capital needs the county doesn’t have the money for in its regular budget.

“With parks you’re going to have a lot of assets, especially out at Tanglewood, that come up and you’re going to have to have renovations and repairs to keep them up to date,” said Assistant County Manges Ronda Tatum.

The bond has $800,000 for playground replacement at Horizons, Walkertown, Kernersville Lake, Union Cross and Old U.S. 421 River parks, along with adding a new play structure at C.H. Hill Park.

There’s $2 million for the first phase of a master plan at Horizons Park. This includes the planning and development of a shelter, roadway extensions, a sand play area, a renovated disc golf course and utilities infrastructure.

There’s also $300,000 for the Reedy Fork Creek portion of Piedmont Greenway that runs through Triad Park. The Piedmont Greenway is planned to extend from Greensboro to Winston-Salem.

There biggest single recipient of bond money would be Tanglewood Park with $6.9 million dollars. This includes $1.35 million in golf course bunker upgrades and removals and other improvements to the course. There’s $1.6 mil-lion to renovate the clubhouse, $1 million for additional phases of its multi-use trail and $1 million of roadway improvements to help with overflow and special event traffic. There are also funds to renovate its Par 3 greens, along with the cart path and irrigation on its Reynolds and Championship golf courses.

Lastly, there’s $5 million in the bond for a multi-use agricultural event center, which will host events like equestrian and cattle shows. The county hasn’t chosen a site for it yet, but Tanglewood is a likely candidate.

Tatum said Tanglewood is getting the most money because it has the most assets. The massive park in Clemmons contains a RV campground, horse stables, a dog park, gardens, an aquatics center, lakes, trails, shelters, golf courses and even has a century-old train engine on display. Every holiday season, it’s home of the popular Tanglewood Festival of Lights.

Of the nearly 4.4 million visitors to county parks in the last fiscal year, almost 2 million of  them went to Tanglewood. Though Tanglewood does charge $2 for admission and other fees for the use of its facilities, its revenues don’t come close to the cost of its operations, which is the case for most parks.

The parks bond, along with a $65 million Forsyth Technical Community College bond and $350 million Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools bond, are at the bottom of this year’s ballot. If all three pass, Forsyth County property taxes will increase by 3.6 cents per $100 of property value in 2018,  with another 3.8 cents increase in 2022.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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