Smyrna Town Council voted in October to create a new Parks and Recreation Committee. Re-establishing the committee was a goal of Mayor Joanne Masten when she began her term as mayor in May.
Masten wanted to start the committee up again so the town could begin providing regularly scheduled events in town. The town previously had a Parks and Recreation Committee but it was cut a few years ago due to budget issues.
The new committee met for the first time on Jan. 8. Topics discussed included sports programs, parks and library programs. The committee meets the second Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. at town hall.
Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Judy McKinney Cherry provided council with an update on the committee’s work at the April 21 Smyrna Town Council meeting.
The committee has grown to 15 volunteers, including town staff.
Cherry said the committee adopted a mission statement that states the committee exists to stimulate interest and to promote the natural, cultural, artistic, historical, and recreational resources in the town.
“We hope council will endorse and approve the mission,” Cherry said.
The committee will focus on two areas – programming and infrastructure.
Cherry said one of the primary goals of the programming group is the development of a current and robust calendar of events.
“Our goal is to have one place for all public events to be listed so new residents and established residents have options for recreation and programming here in our community,” Cherry said. “Our intention is to have all non-profits that host events to submit their annual programs and special events so that we are able to promote them and demonstrate that Smyrna has many options for recreational opportunities.”
Cherry said it would also be beneficial to have a web-based calendar on the town’s website so groups can coordinate events. The first item submitted is the CCO/Smyrna PAL Summer Basketball League.
The committee is also assisting with the Smyrna Spring Arts Festival, which will be on Saturday, May 31 from 12 to 5 p.m. in town. Local business owner Howard Johnson is organizing the event, but has asked the committee to create a Children’s Art Fair as part of the festival. Parks and Recreation received a $500 grant from the Smyrna Downtown Renaissance Association for supplies.
There’s also been discussion of an ice cream social for children at Lake Como.
Committee member Andrea Hodge is heading the programming group. Hodge discussed the need for programming via email last week. She said programming is important in meeting the needs of the community.
“Programming is important because it offers our residents the opportunity to get involved in community-based activities and to engage with the sponsoring organizations,” Hodge said. “Programming gives residents a chance to meet new people, catch up with friends, enjoy their favorite hobbies, give back to the community, and to live well-rounded lives.
On the infrastructure aspect, Cherry said the group is focusing on physical improvements such as open space and greenways, walkways and running paths, recreational fields, as well as identifying and securing grant money for needed improvements.
The committee will take a trip around town on May 7 to tour the parks in town and assess their current condition.
There group is also discussing starting a Community Garden in Smyrna.
“The State of Delaware has a community garden in Bellevue State Park and we will use their processes to guide the development of the Smyrna Community Garden,” Cherry said.