Amherst County had a banner year for youth participation in basketball and football, according to the department’s 2021-2022 annual report.
Heather Follett, chair of the Amherst County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Development Board, presented the report to the county board of supervisors on July 19.
The 2021-22 recreational basketball season drew an all-time high of 278 registered players and this year’s spring football brought out a record 335 registered players, she said.
“People are going out more,” Follett told supervisors of the rise in attendance.
The 2021 fall football season attracted 218 players. Soccer and basketball are aimed at children aged 4 to 18 and allow them to learn new skills, participate in friendly competition and the league encourages good leadership, sportsmanship and team play, depending on the department.
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The department’s goal is to provide county residents, from children to seniors, with a range of services, classes, programs, and special events and encourages them to remain active in the community.
“The past two years have been unprecedented with shutdowns, closures and disruption of the services we provide due to the Covid pandemic,” the report said. “Over the past year, we have slowly started offering more programs and activities as we emerge from the pandemic. The department has also experienced a significant change in personnel, which has resulted in further disruption in the delivery of services to the citizens we serve. »
Bingo takes place on Fridays at the Coolwell Community Center and has attracted about 500 people over the past year, according to the report.
“The ladies love bingo,” Follett said. “Bingo will never go away in this county, ever.”
Pickleball also continues to be a popular activity and is held weekly at the Sweet Briar College gymnasium, attracting 630 participants last year.
Follette said the Coolwell Center amphitheater is slated for more use.
The department applied for a grant through the Department of Conservation and Recreation for upgrades to Mill Creek Lake Park in North Amherst County and Seminole Park behind The Westie apartment complex on Phelps Road in Madison Heights, and should know by this fall or winter if the money is coming in on those two park projects, Follette said.
Mill Creek Lake Park has been heavily used this spring and summer due to the beach and the addition of a new water swing. “We have heard very positive feedback about the park and as we add more amenities it will become even more popular with the public,” the report said.
Department heads are currently working on a 5-10 year parks and recreation plan and a tourism plan is also being created with different groups, organizations and businesses coming together to form a tourism board to gain ideas and engage in promoting the county and many of the services it has to offer, according to the document.
“The future of the Amherst County Department of Recreation, Tourism and Cultural Development looks brighter,” the report states, “and through these plans the hope is to create and deliver programs, quality activities and parks for years to come”.