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Upgrades eyed for Louisa County parks

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 5:00 am

The county’s parks and recreation director proposed to build several pavilions, a new playground and open green space next to the Betty J. Queen center.

The county’s parks and recreation director presented a vision this week to organize more events on land next to the Betty J. Queen Intergenerational Center.

James Smith said the roughly eight-acre area just west of the aquatics center is currently underused. A disc golf course was installed there a few years ago, but it is used only about 20 to 30 times annually, he said. He proposed instead to build several pavilions, a new playground and open green space within a portion of the forested area.

The improvements would give residents more places to hold family and group picnics and centralize events at the Betty Queen Center. They could also provide additional revenue to support parks programs, since people would pay fees to reserve the outdoor spaces. In addition, the parks department could hold outdoor concerts at the site.

Smith asked the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to support using a portion of $300,000 left over from old parks capital projects to fund the improvements.

Smith said the advantage of holding large events at the Betty Queen Center, rather than at Walton Park in the town of Mineral, is the lack of adequate parking at the latter location. Another location that hosts some events, Louisa Town Park, lacks bathrooms or electricity.

“We need a place where we can have outdoor concerts where we have electricity, proper lights and adequate parking,” he said. “[At other sites] we spend two days after events fixing the grass we tore up, because we don’t have adequate parking.”

An enhanced walking trail around the pavilions and playground would be another new feature. Smith said some residents might not use the existing trails around the disc golf course because the area is heavily forested and it could be perceived as unsafe.

Bowlers Mill Lake Recreation Area, off James Madison Highway (Rt. 15), could also see improvements, with a picnic pavilion, improved parking and signage to help visitors find their way. The area is used now by some residents for fishing and has a boat ramp.

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Feb. 7, 2019 issue.

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