Parks Prevention And Sprawl Top County ToDo List
No, the strictly traditional paths county commissioners have traveled for years are out for 2002. The new year will find a few agenda items that will take them into areas where they haven’t been before.
Topping the commission’s list is to take control of the parks system. The system has always been under the direction of the Road and Park Commission, but a subcommittee recommended earlier this year that the commission take over the department.
The switch makes sense for commissioners because they have always set the funding for the parks. With the board’s increased emphasis on parkland acquisition and development, such as the $10.2 million they spent recently to buy property for Millennium and Wahfield parks, the transfer seems to be even more logical.
“It’s not unlike what has happened in other counties,” said Daryl Delabbio, Kent County administrator and controller.
“There are three different ways you can operate a park system in counties, and one of those ways is to have it reported to the county board through the administrator,” he added. “The other way is through the Road Commission, and the third way is through a Parks Commission.”
The subcommittee also suggested that the county buy another 1,400 acres of land for parks within the next seven to 10 years, and put together a task force to determine the best method to fund the parks system. The system consists of 37 parks, including the L.E. Kaufman Golf Course.
“That is one issue that is going to take a fair amount of time this year,” said Delabbio.
Commissioners will also look at how to implement a prevention program in three specific areas.
Chosen as priorities for expanded prevention services were primary family support, suspected child abuse and neglect, and substance abuse. Outcomes will be targeted for both the short- and long-terms.
Board members will also have to figure out how to put into practice the suggestions which came from a subcommittee that examined urban sprawl.
“These are different directions than the county has ever taken,” said Delabbio.
But whatever commissioners decide to do this year, the real results of their actions are not likely to surface for decades.
“The significance of these actions will not be visible or manifested for many years,” said Delabbio.
Commissioners will hold their first meeting of the new year on Wednesday.