Ferrum (Steps) Forward at Monthly Meeting

 Guest Speaker Paul Chapman raves about the many upcoming opportunities and events for members of the community offered by Franklin County Parks and Recreation at the February meeting of Ferrum Forward.
Guest Speaker Paul Chapman raves about the many upcoming opportunities and events for members of the community offered by Franklin County Parks and Recreation at the February meeting of Ferrum Forward.
Eliza Copes

This past Tuesday, Ferrum Forward members assembled and commenced with the introduction of the night’s speaker, Paul Chapman, director of Franklin County Parks and Recreation.

Chapman expressed appreciation for his acknowledgement and immediately began to relay the upcoming events and services offered by Franklin County Parks and Recreation that will enrich the community. 

“I wanted to start by focusing on some events that you might not know about. Insider information, per say,” Chapman spoke. 

He began to list the series of opportunities such as mountain bike races, an event known as Concerts by Canoe, and an upcoming Easter Egg Hunt.

The full list of events can be accessed online, explained Chapman. 

Parks and Rec is also working to build a new county park in the Smith Mountain Lake area this spring, as well as pulling a permit to dredge and restore Jamison Mill.

He thanked Ferrum Forward for the time and encouraged further contact from both the committee and the community.  

“We prefer open communication both ways,” Chapman said.

The meeting proceeded with a review and approval of the December Minutes, including the Treasurer’s Report.

They continued with the discussion of announcements, first introduced were the upcoming productions held on the college campus, such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth that begins this week and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, which begins in April.

A main emphasis of the night, however, was the approaching Ferrum Historical Marker Dedication Celebration. West celebrated the news.

“We raised $3,000 to get a historical marker established in Ferrum,” West said. “We are so proud to announce that it is approved, ready to come, and we are looking into a dedication on Sat., April 13, 2024, at 3:30 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church.”

The committee also spoke of the Friends of Ferrum Park proposal and the Spring Opening of the Farmers/Craft Market, which will re-open April 18–across from the Greenbox on Rt. 40, just west of campus.

Regarding the park proposal, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors has not yet made a decision on the submitted proposals. FOFP chair Rebecca Saunders was not at the meeting but later relayed where the project stands.

“Currently, we’re still in limbo,” she said. “Our non-profit board met with the Franklin County Development Department last month and did a 45-minute presentation on our plan and answered all of the questions they had.”

They were told at the meeting that they couldn’t give a definitive date yet on when the BOS would be voting on what to do with the property.

“However, Steve Sandy did update us that he would be giving the BOS an update at (tomorrow’s) meeting and would be able to give us a better idea on Wednesday of what the BOS is looking to move forward with,” Saunders said.

The Development Department told FOFP that the next step of the process is that they will now put forward an official recommendation from one of three options: the FOFP proposal, another proposal, or neither.

“Neither could be the recommendation that the county should either open the project back up for new RFPs or just sell it outright to the highest bidder,” Saunders said. “But for now, that’s all we know for certain. We’re still going to focus on getting as many folks as possible out to the Supervisors meeting the day they vote on it. The moment we know what date that is, we’ll let you know!”

 Some members also proposed the idea of an outdoor walking group and a survey to assist in the transpire of future events.

Subjects such as future discretion were also discussed, as well as the encouragement of the branch of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in the county, and the organization of a Good Neighbors program in which members of the community could serve on a platform to assist one another in everyday circumstances, such as assisting an elderly couple in the moving of furniture. 

The committee concluded its meeting at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on Ferrum Forward and any upcoming events, access their online webpage, or reach out to their facebook.


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