Thursday October 10, 2019

Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks enjoys banner year

18-19 ALPS annual report


More than one million people discovered education, fitness and the outdoors through Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks programs during fiscal year 2019. That number represented an increase of nearly 20,000 participants over the prior year.

ALPs Director Londa Strong and Assistant Director Byron Haigler presented the department’s annual report during the October 7 meeting of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners. Strong and Haigler detailed a variety of highlights from throughout the year, ranging from park visitors to program improvements, collaborative efforts and more.

Strong kicked off the discussion by displaying annual reports of years past – dating all the way back to 1983 -- to show the strides her department, and the entire County, has made through the years.

Haigler discussed participation at Frank Liske Park, which was around 200,000 a decade ago. By 2018-19, that number tripled to 602,000, Haigler told the board.

“The numbers are growing and growing and people are utilizing these facilities,” Haigler said.

Officials also focused on boosting healthy concessions at the parks, and product offerings rose from 13 percent in 2013 to 64 percent in 2018, Haigler said. During that same time, sales more than doubled at Frank Liske Park.

Program variety continues to be a source of pride for the 18 full-time staff members. Between the parks and senior centers, more than 4,000 programs were offered, Haigler said.

Board member Diane Honeycutt, who serves on the Senior Centers Advisory Council encouraged the public to experience senior programs offered by Active Living and Parks.

The “most enthusiastic people I have ever seen,” Honeycutt said. “Seniors is not the right word for them … there’s a lot going on there and if people are interested they really should check it out.”

Here are some other highlights for fiscal year 2019

71,677 senior center participants, an increase of 5,497 over the prior year

700 people fished for trout in December and January at Frank Liske Park.

200 species of plants and animals were identified by staff and volunteers at Camp T.N. Spencer Park

$5.63 cost per capita for Cabarrus County parks, compared to a 2016 national average of $76.44 per capita. That means Cabarrus County parks operate at a cost of 7.3 percent of the national average.

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