CLAYTON — The town council heard a plan for broadening the reach of the Parks and Recreation Department at its meeting last week.
Sarah Burroughs of Sage Design said the west and south sides of town are ripe for outdoor spaces when money becomes available. Those sides of town are underserved, she said.
Burroughs also suggested linking Clayton’s outdoor spaces to other parts of town. For example, she said, the town could link its greenway to downtown. Also, the town could link the Clayton Community Center to downtown via a trail.
“From an economic-development perspective, you’ll have the opportunity to support local businesses by bringing people from there to downtown,” Burroughs said, referring to the greenway.
When Burroughs recommended more programming for youth, Councilman Michael Grannis asked for specific recommendations to reach out to teenagers.
Burroughs advised working with geography teachers, encouraging them to use outdoor spaces for lessons, and forming other partnerships with the county’s schools.
Also last week, the council OK’d new cemetery fees.
The cost of purchasing a plot increases from $600 to $1,000. Included in the price is a permanent footstone worth $100. The town council wanted all graves to have a marker, so the footstone is now required of new graves.
A new few of $900 was added to open and close a grave. Funeral homes had done that, often through a contractor, but the town has hired a full-time cemetery manager, and he will perform that task.
The town council also discussed a policy for accepting donations of park benches, monuments and similar memorials. The aim is to make sure such gifts fit the town’s needs and are aesthetically pleasing.
Under a proposed policy, the donor will be responsible for the cost of buying, installing and maintaining the donation.
Councilman Grannis said he didn’t think the donor should have to bear the cost of maintenance. “I don’t feel comfortable charging something for someone who is donating something to us,” he said.
Also under the proposal, all donated items will have to be resistant to weather, wear and tear, and vandalism.
Memorial plaques or other acknowledgements will be allowed only on benches, picnic tables, large play structures and drinking fountains.
Again, Grannis objected, saying tree donors deserved recognition, too.
Parks and Recreation director Larry Bailey said plaques on trees are easy to vandalize, so he recommended not allowing them. At the same time, he said he would be willing to discuss the matter with Grannis.
The council will consider the policy at its next meeting.
During the public comment part of the meeting, two representatives from the nonprofit Rain Down Us spoke to the council. Anita Woodley, a former producer at WUNC radio, and Demetrius Hunter, originally from Clayton, spoke to the council about working in the community to promote breast-cancer awareness. Woodley said the nonprofit will hold a live-theater event Oct. 24 at the Wagner House to raise money. The group provides free breast screenings and HIV workshops in communities across the state. To learn more, visit raindownus.org.