Help shape the future of Culpeper’s recreational offerings

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016

Few things are as powerful as the power of public participation in shaping the future of recreation plans at the county government level. Next Wednesday, on March 30th (at 6:30 p.m.) the public is encouraged to attend an Open House at the State Theatre to share ideas and recommendations to “Help Shape the Future of Culpeper County Parks and Recreation.”

Need more parks or a public pool? Are you interested in how parks and recreation can impact the local economy? Are you looking for more places to hike or play sports? Do you seek more programs for children or senior citizens?

Over the last decade parks and recreation departments across the nation have sought a higher level of community participation to bring new ideas, long-term goals and economic factors to the table. The State Theatre will host the introduction of a new parks and recreation initiative, orchestrated by Culpeper County Parks and Recreation and PROS Consulting, Inc., a nationally recognized parks and recreation consulting firm. County residents are invited to attend this “Open House” to express their ideas and desires for the future of parks and recreation in the county.

“We really want to encourage the community to attend. They can help shape the future of recreation in our county,” said John Barrett, Culpeper County’s Director of Parks and Recreation. “Have you ever thought about what you may want or need from the county’s parks and recreation department? What if you were given the opportunity to offer your thoughts and even more? Now is the time to prepare questions and add your ideas.”

Before the open house begins its exploration of topics there will be a time period for Culpeper Renaissance Inc. to discuss its innovative pocket park idea and the Town of Culpeper will share its plans for Lake Pelham, according to Barrett. Families, businesses, youth sports organizations, senior citizens and community leaders are all encouraged to attend.

“We’re seeking a consensus of priorities. As the county population continues to grow, it is critical to gather information to obtain a full understanding of those community needs,” said Barrett. “A parks and recreation study will serve as a data collection platform in order to gain insight and prepare a planning guide for the future. After the open house PROS Consulting will take the top three priorities and conduct impact studies. The process should take about nine months to a year.”

In addition to the kick-off open house, PROS Consulting will hold additional public meetings, mail a survey to households in the county, and conduct stakeholder interviews, according to planners.

If attendance is not possible for the first open house a website ( will allow people to still play a part in the process. On the website, citizens can provide input as well as view the progress of the study.

“This planning process is centered on community values and the unmet needs of the diverse population of Culpeper County,” said Neelay Bhatt, Vice-President of PROS Consulting Inc., who was hired to lead the planning process.

For more information, contact John Barrett at 540-727-3412.

If you go
What: Community discussion – Help Shape the Future of Culpeper County Parks and Recreation
Where: State Theatre located at 305 S. Main Street
When: Wednesday, March 30, 6:30 p.m.

Marshall Conner is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at