Panel to oversee Tega Cay leisure

The city of Tega Cay is moving forward with a plan to create a Parks and Recreation Commission to help stay in front of a growing demand for programs.

The move is part of the master plan the City Council approved last year.

“What we’ve found is that volunteers are at their threshold, drinking from a fire hose so to speak,” Tega Cay Operations Director Charlie Funderburk said.

“With so many things going on in the city both currently and in the future, we felt we had to devise something to streamline community activities.”

The ordinance for a Parks and Recreation Commission is set to go before the council this month for a first reading.

If approved, the commission would create subcommittees of volunteers whose backgrounds fit each of the positions offered. Examples include panels for pools, trails, community outreach, events, tourism, budget and funding.

The subcommittees would work together, “getting everyone on the same page,” Funderburk said.

If a charity or sporting event requires additional funding, it would refer to a council-appointed finance subcommittee rather than the city committee that handles all facets of budgeting.

Funderburk cited the Rock Hill Parks Foundation as an inspiration for the proposal and said the various resident-created committees that have sprouted in recent years proves there is a need for a Parks and Recreation Commission.

“To be honest, a lot of the plan proposed has already happened, really just by the need more than anything else,” Funderburk said.

“For example, a strong desire from residents to see more attention paid to trails resulted in a Trails Advisory Committee being formed. But everything needs to be more formalized, and it’s time we take it to the next level.”

At Tega Cay’s June 20 council meeting, Councilman Stephen Perkins raised questions about the proposal. The Parks and Recreation Commission ordinance was placed before the council in several iterations, one of which proposed that nonresidents could serve on one of the subcommittees, which Perkins cited as an area of concern.

Perkins felt that certain aspects of the ordinance were redundant, mainly the creation of a finance subcommittee when Parks and Recreation has a part of the city budget already secured.

But in its current version, the ordinance states that only Tega Cay residents can hold committee seats, which will remain in effect if the proposal is passed. According to Funderburk, a council-appointed finance subcommittee would act as a liaison between Parks and Recreation and the city.

Funderburk believes the ordinance could benefit Tega Cay financially.

“This group could be the start of a much bigger project that could perhaps offset recreational expenses,” Funderburk said.

By Jason Chisari, Special to Fort Mill Times (The Herald)