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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials View of a Councilman: “BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME”

View of a Councilman: “BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME”

Carolina Beach Town Councilman

“BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME." A phase taken from the movie “Field of Dreams” provides a good reference point for what has taken place at Mike Chappell Park.  Mike Chappell Park continues to blossom as a total sports complex for men, women and children of all ages. 
I think the genesis for its resurrection stated back in the 2006 when council made one of many investments in expanding the types of activities at the park by building a skate board park. 
The popularity of that skate board park and the planning set forth by our towns volunteer Parks and Recreation Committee has spawned a wide range of other investments by our council in the park. 
Utilizing a small amount of our town budget and the $200,000.00 in bond money earmarked for Carolina Beach parks from the county we have made significant improvements and upgrades to our park over the past couple years. 
First we leveled the large athletic field adding topsoil, a little irrigation and a re-seeding the field which turned a bumpy and sparse looking field into a nice well groomed athletic field for all kinds of sports (Soccer, Flag Football, Lacrosse, Rugby etc.). 
At the same time councilman Lonnie Lashley led the effort to build some basketball courts including a junior backboard and hoop to expand our park to include outdoor basketball.  
The small hoop and backboard is great for the small tikes to enjoy.  Next up the town reshaped and re-seeded the big softball/baseball field and created a new infield with clay and worked on the fencing and new dugouts. 
A couple more added touches will be completed this fall which will include rebuilding the tennis courts which were in poor condition and we are also going to replace the children’s playground equipment this year.  As all of these things have taken shape more and more residents have begun to use the facilities for all kinds of sports.  On any given night or weekend afternoon you will see lots of children playing soccer as their parents look on, men and women of all ages participating in playing coed softball, residents playing basketball in pickup games or with their children, children and young adults skateboarding and soon the return of the tennis players to our newly rebuilt courts.  
One final touch may be in store for the smaller baseball field as a group of residents would like to see boy’s and girl’s baseball return to the Island in some form or another.   This field would need to have the infield dug out and some clay put down to create a good playing surface for our children. 
A lot of the credit for this dramatic change to Mike Chapel Park has to go to our volunteer Parks and Recreation Committee who has keep focus on a vision they had for making Mike Chapel Park something all our residents can enjoy.  Over the past couple years that plan was presented to council for approval and now our residents are benefiting from the results.  Our towns parks and recreation staff also has been a big part of the planning and they are responsible for the implementation of the plans.  As an example of our staff’s efforts during the recent coed softball season staff dragged the infield and lined the fields for the teams to play and soccer fields are lined and have goals.  They have kept the large athletic field well groomed so our children can play or practice soccer every day.  They check and maintain the children’s playground keeping it safe.  To ensure safety of our residents and children I can attest that our police department patrols the area frequently as well.  
A special thanks goes out to one of our local residents, Jerry Bigley who played a big part in Mike Chappell park early on as he donated the parks first bleachers and the first building and over the years Jerry has continue to support activities for our children.  
I understand the Parks and Recreation Committee and our Parks and Recreation Staff has some other interesting plans for the future and I look forward to seeing what they bring forward because their strategic planning for Mike Chapel park has been a smashing success.  
I want to send out a big thank for all the volunteers who served on the Parks and Recreation Committee and our town staff for a great job on the behalf of all us residents who enjoy Mike Chappell Park.