Outdoor Elmore tries to catch ideas for recreation

Published 1:06pm Monday, March 17, 2014

Outdoor events and activities draw in thousands of local residents and visitors to Elmore County every year. From youth sports to fishing and boating; from biking and hiking to bird watching; there are numerous outdoor recreation opportunities.

To promote tourism, boost economic development and make better use of the county’s trails, parks, lakes, rivers and other venues a series of meetings began Thursday night to gather information and ideas about the county’s outdoor recreation.

Outdoor Elmore open house meetings are for everyone interested in the future of outdoor recreation in the county. Ideas garnered will help guide creation of a Blueways, Greenways and Outdoor Recreational Plan for the county.

“These are listening sessions,” said Cathy Gerachis, planning and landscape architecture department head for Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, the firm conducting the meetings and developing the plan.

“When we talk to people we want to learn what’s important to them as far as recreation. We know there’s a wide variety here.”

Development of the plan is being funded by a $30,000 grant the Elmore County Commission received in October from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

“There are certain recreational activities that promote tourism,” Gerachis said. “We want to look at what’s here and how best to use it.”

Thursday’s meeting was held at Holtville High School. Three additional meetings will be held next week:

•March 17 at Coosada Elementary School.

•March 18 at Tallassee High School.

•March 20 at Wetumpka High School.

All meetings are conducted in a come-and-go format from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We are asking people to tell us their top five recreational priorities,” said Gerachhis. “We’re also asking them to tell us their one best idea they have for outdoor recreation in Elmore County. It can be a venue or event.

“On top of all the other things available, the rivers and lakes add a whole different level of recreation within a half hour of where anyone lives in Elmore County. The county needs to capitalize on that.”

In addition to discussing ideas with project team members, attendees can pinpoint areas of interest on maps at the various meetings.

“After the final meeting in this series, will identify people to interview further about specific user groups,” Gerachis said. “It’s really about understanding the resources there are, who’s using them, what are future opportunities and how to be good stewards of those resources. There are plenty of things for folks to get excited about.”

For further information about the meetings, call Dale Brasher at 334-271-3200 or email dale.brasher@gmcnetwork.com.

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