JAckson County Commissioners have approved a master plan for the Cashiers-Glenville Recreation Center that includes the construction of a splash pad in place of the existing pool. The preliminary cost estimate for the entire plan is just under $ 2 million.
“We really focused on creating a central hub for recreational activities in the Cashiers-Glenville area. And really careful to make it pedestrian friendly and accessible to provide outdoor recreation that is well connected to the community, ”said David Tuch, president and landscape architect, Equinox Environmental.
Commissioners approved the recreation center’s master plan on December 7, after the project was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jackson County signed a contract with Equinox, an environmental consulting, planning and design company in Asheville, in 2019. Following a public survey that received 333 responses and an open house to collect input from the public, the master plan was due to be completed in 2020, but was put on hold with the start of the pandemic. When the completion of the master plan was resumed in spring 2021, changes to the plan had to be made due to developments in the meantime.
The plan aims to address the leisure center’s membership surge – 1,668 in 2019 – and limited space for recreational activities. The main objective of the Master Plan is to develop the Recreation Center into a pedestrian-friendly, accessible, central recreational center for recreational activities in the Cashiers-Glenville area, with outdoor recreation opportunities and well connected to the community.
The current recreation center property is a 23.78 acre complex comprising 10 parcels owned by the Cashiers Community Council and Jackson County. The complex includes 11 buildings including the Leisure Center, Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau, Albert Carlton-Cashiers Library, Senior Center, Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry, Cashiers Thrift Shop, Hampton Preschool and Early Learning Facility, the Jackson County approval office, public toilet facility, maintenance building, and electrical shed. The structures range in age from the 1960s to 2012.
According to Megan Foy, landscape architect at Equinox, the recreation center’s pool is in a state of disrepair and is getting a lot of rainwater from adjacent properties. Water is nowhere to be found on the pool property, so replacing or repairing the pool in its current location was not an appropriate option. Rainwater was also a problem for the existing tennis courts.
An average of 75 to 100 people use the pool every day, according to assistant director of parks and recreation, Michael Hopkins. However, if one does not take into account the use by the boys and girls club, day camps and daycare centers, the average daily use by the population is around five to six people per day. For this reason, the new master plan provides for a paddling pool instead of a swimming pool.
In the public responses, over 30% of people said swimming was the activity they looked forward to the most. This was the second most popular response after walking and cycling. Over 40% of respondents said the most popular amenities they want would be a new pool.
“I’ve always been an advocate of swimming pools, and I’m excited to see what happens to them at our leisure center in Cullowhee future pool but I would like to stress that we are looking at possible neighboring properties to offer a pool for the future, ”said Commissioner Mark Jones. “There is a need. Given the number of visitors, this is not absolutely necessary at the moment. The Splashpad would be much safer, cheaper to run and would offer the citizens of this end of the district some water experiences.”
Commissioner Gail Woody noted the community support for the Cashiers Boys and Girls Club as well as the Summit Charter School and the possibility that at some point in the future these two institutions could pool together with support from the county.
“That’s definitely a possibility,” said Parks and Recreation Director Rusty Ellis. “As Mr. Jones said, there is a need for a pool up there, but within that framework and with this document, it is not possible to be on the campus that is currently owned by the county. But it’s definitely something that we could look into with some of these other entities to work with and coordinate something with. “
The plan also includes repositioning tennis and pickleball courts near their current location to reduce rainwater problems.
In addition to the splashpad, the plan also provides for an ADA-accessible fishing pier, an asphalt greenway trail, improved flow paths, a water fountain, a lawn, a pavilion, benches, interpretive signage, and soccer and baseball fields. The public had asked for a dog park, but in the time between the planning periods, Vision Cashiers completed the Cashiers Dog Park in the spring of 2021.
An important aspect of the plan is general connectivity between the recreation center and adjacent public resources. Walking paths have been laid out around the new and modernized facilities, connecting to the Village Green and other locations within the ticket offices.
According to design experts, “It is imperative that the master plan provide secure connections to the post office, The Ramble and the new Boys & Girls Club facilities.”