Develop rec plan in-house, county commissioners say Costs trimmed for Gillis Falls site SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

November 11, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Any effort to develop a master recreation plan for the Gillis Falls Reservoir site should be done in-house, not through a paid consultant, the county commissioners said yesterday.

The commissioners balked at a staff recommendation to hire a consultant to develop a master recreation plan for the long-planned, 430-acre reservoir.

The reservoir project itself has been shelved because of environmental conflicts.

In recommending hiring a consultant, planning department officials said the county had already budgeted $11,416 for the proposed recreation plan but would need about $3,000 more.

"I can't support it," Commissioner President Donald I. Dell said.

"It's a critical [budget] situation we have in the state and the county. Recreation and Parks ought to be able to do the plan."

South Carroll residents have been pressing county officials to develop a recreation plan for the unused tract.

A master plan would encompass recreational plans for the tract before and after a reservoir is built.

Among the proposed uses are hiking and equestrian trails, bicycle paths, public sledding areas and primitive camping areas.

K. Marlene Conaway, assistant planning director, said the importance of a master plan is to show the location of trails systems and other proposed facilities for what has been called Gillis Falls Regional Park.

Planning officials said South Carroll residents would like to use the land "instead of just letting it sit there."

Mr. Dell said now is not the time to spend money on recreational needs when people are complaining about potholes in county roads.

"It seems like everything we do we have to have consultants," he said.

"Just because we have the money doesn't mean we have to spend it."

Added Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy: "The question now is, do we need it?"

Planning officials said they would ask John Little, director of the county's Parks and Recreation Department, to attend a meeting to discuss having staff develop the plan.

Reached after the meeting, Mr. Little said that having staff draw the proposed plan was a possibility.

"When times are tough, we try to do some work in-house," Mr. Little said. "We do have some people that could do that."

He agreed it made sense to use the land for recreation while plans for the reservoir remain stalled.

The reservoir has been recommended as the most desirable water source for South Carroll to the year 2040 and beyond.

"Just because it's not a reservoir at this time doesn't mean it can't be developed for recreation opportunities," he said.

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