Williamsburg Council members are looking into the possibility generating additional revenue for the village of by adding an additional park shelter in the Williamsburg Community Park.
The current shelter generates about $1,800 each year. According to council woman Terri Ousley, chairperson of the park committee, the village must turn down requests for the current shelter because it is always full. The revenue lost ranges anywhere from $500 to $600.
“Revenue from the shelter is currently up from what is was last year,” said Patti Bates, village administrator. The cost to rent the shelter for the entire day is $50. “I already had to turn a gentleman down today because the date he wanted was already taken. Most people want the shelter on weekends for family gatherings and events. Weekdays are usually wide open.”
The cost to add a new shelter has been quoted at $50,000. Bates says she is committed to looking for ways to fund the new shelter.
Mayor Lefker made the suggestion to contact Grant Vocational School in hopes that the carpentry students could become involved, which would cut as portion of the cost to build the shelter.
In a follow up with Bates, she said Grant Vocational has been contacted and she is waiting to hear back from them.
"Parks are important to people in a way that may not be completely understood by some people. The parks are an economical tool that council members embrace as a way to attract new business to the community," Bates said.
Lorrie Plazarin, manager of Holtmans Donut Shop on main street, agreed that when her parents, Chuck and Toni, were looking for a location for their shop, parks were an important aspect in their decision.
"We first looked at Eastfork Lake and then discovered Williamsburg park as well," Plazarin said. "We get a lot of business from the park. People walk the trail and then come in for doughnuts and coffee. So, yes, I agree parks are very important to businesses."
When Becky McKinney, a frequent visitor of Williamsburg Community Park, was asked her opinion on the importance of parks, her comment was, "I think they are very important to our community and their families. We come here often to play disc golf and I like walking the trail. My children love the playground equipment as well."
According to Ousley, the shelter will be a great way to add revenue to the park and keep it beautiful and a nice pleasant place for everyone to frequent. The small town charm is already a big part of what makes Williamsburg Village special, she ads, but the park pulls it altogether.
"I think parks are important to a community in all areas. Economics is one and providing a relaxing, fun environment is another. Our park creates a nice meeting place for friends and family," Ousley said. "I also see a lot of people who are employed by businesses in the area, eating their lunches at the picnic tables in the park. It gives them a nice break. I even see business owners themselves slipping over to the park to relax and have a bite to eat."
According to independent studies, parks also increase property values for residential areas.
"It all comes full circle," Bates said. Which is why council remains supportive when it comes to park improvements and enhancements.