Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
Going to a park, or the local swimming pool, or playing tennis, or going fishing may seem like everyday tasks that many people do. But officials with the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department are hoping to use this month to get more people involved in these activities.
July is National Parks and Recreation Month, a time when the spotlight is put on the services provided to communities by local recreation departments, according to Clayton County Parks and Recreation Director Detrick Stanford.
National Parks and Recreation Month is an initiative started by the National Recreation and Park Association in 1985, according to a fact sheet provided by Clayton's recreation department.
Locally, Stanford said, Clayton officials are using the month to promote the various activities people can engage in at the county's three recreation centers, and "The Beach" at Clayton County International Park, the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve, and 36 smaller parks.
"We're trying to get the community to galvanize support [for parks and recreation programs] by utilizing green spaces, recreation centers, ball fields ... it doesn't matter," Stanford said. He later added, "We're fighting to make people aware of what parks and recreation facilities we have here in the county, as well the various programs that we provide to the community."
To help commemorate National Parks and Recreation Month, Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell issued a proclamation on Tuesday, officially recognizing the month-long celebration of parks. In the proclamation, he praised several of the ways parks and recreation programs improve the quality of life for a community, including improved water quality, increased tourism, and higher property values.
"Our parks and natural recreation areas ensure the ecological beauty of the community, [and] provide a place for children and adults to connect with nature, and recreate in the outdoors," Bell's proclamation states.
Clayton County Parks and Recreation Marketing Director Amy Keeney said the department has several initiatives and programs scheduled for July.
Those, she said, include free admission to the county's three recreation centers on Saturdays during the month, free chair rentals at "The Beach," in Jonesboro, on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the month, and fishing derbies at Clayton County International Park (in Jonesboro), this Saturday, and on July 23.
Keeney also said there will be a free swimming day (between 2 p.m., and 5 p.m.,) at the Carl Rodenizer Recreation Center, at 3499 Rex Road, in Rex, on July 16, and a "Summer Luau" at the Jim Huie Recreation Center, at 9045 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro, on July 23, from 11 a.m., to 3 p.m.
The Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, at 1475 East Fayetteville Road, in Riverdale, will host a Pool Carnival on July 23, from noon, to 4 p.m., according to Keeney.
For more information on National Parks and Recreation Month events in Clayton County, log onto the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department's web site, at www.claytonparks.com/.