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Mecklenburg County and Tourism Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation plays a huge role in our tourism industry. According to the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), “the amateur sports market produces approximately 50% of the City’s overall event room night production and event sales activities. Currently, these events have primarily used facilities owned and managed by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department.” A Feb. 2012 UNCC report entitled “The Economic Impact of Sports and Sports Events on the Charlotte MSA Economy” measured the economic impact of amateur and youth events at $232 Million for 2011. Furthermore, the amateur sporting events normally occur over low demand periods, adding significant, incremental economic impact to the hospitality and retail sectors during times of lower business demand.

Get Happy – Live Near a Park The evidence continues to mount – green space puts us all in a better mental state and researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have the latest data to prove it. Their recently published study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , and reported on in Fast Company, finds that places that have more trees tended to have happier residents. They even go so far as to say their work “proves ‘greening’ could be considered a low-cost, high-return investment to positively influence mental health.” Great information to pass along to the happy people in your community! Green space puts people in a better mental state, with "significant and sizable" effects. Better get gardening. Read the rest of the article here.

Those places with more trees tended to be happier, and the association was "significant and sizable."

Be a Part of Mecklenburg County's Future Resident Input Sought at Community Meetings We are holding several community meetings over the next few weeks to gather feedback on the MLCP from community members.Please join us as we work to set community-wide goals and create a unified vision for Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte and surrounding towns. Community Meeting Schedule: • Tuesday, May 6, 11a.m. - 1p.m., Charlotte -Mecklenburg Main Library, 310 North Tryon Street, Charlotte • Wednesday, May 14, 11a.m. – 1p.m., Charlotte-Mecklenburg North Library, 16500 Holly Crest Lane, Huntersville • Friday, May 16, 1p.m. 3p.m., CharlotteMecklenburg South Library, 5801 Rea Road, Charlotte

The fourth annual Hats Off to Parks fundraiser starts TODAY at Romare Bearden Park! The event will benefit a playground build at Park Road Park in memory of the children and teachers lost in the Newtown tragedy. Hats Off to Parks will feature a raffle and musical entertainment by The Tams. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance at under the “Hats Off to Parks” donation fund. For more information, contact

Work at Park & Rec this summer Looking for a great job that pays $11+/hour with the aquatics division of Park and Recreation? For information about becoming Starguard Certified (First Aid/CPR), lifeguards please contact us at:

Ray's Splash Planet email Jody Corum Marion Diehl email Pat Daly Aquatic Center email Stephanie Whittington

All Mecklenburg County Aquatic Facilities and Pools are compliant with the VIRGINIA GRAEME BAKER ACT

RomareFest - May 3-4 The inaugural RomareFest takes place Saturday, May 3, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, May 4, noon – 4 p.m. and is free to attend. Bring the entire family and enjoy live music, a magic show, activities such as face painting, and much more. Food trucks will be on site throughout the weekend.

Register Now for the 17th Annual 'Rodney's Great Kids' Triathlon Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is now taking applications for the 17th annual “Rodney's Great Kids Triathlon” on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center, 800 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Competition begins at 8:30 a.m. Last year more than 100 youngsters participated, both boys and girls. Organizer Rodney Sellars says that while lots of kids can run or bike or swim well, this event is designed so they have to do all three. “It's great fun and helps foster youth fitness,” Sellars added. Advance registration runs through Friday, April 25 and costs $20.

Athletics Kicks f4 Kids 5K On Saturday April 26, 2014 Jetton Park hosted the 2nd annual Kicks 4 Kids 5k. Kicks 4 Kids is a non-profit organization that was started by two local high schoolers with a mission of promoting health and fitness by providing underprivileged youth with new athletic equipment. The event was a great success with almost 100 participants. Bobby Aswell, Jr. was the overall winner with a time of 19:15. The first female crossed the line in a time of 22:41. To find out more information about Kicks 4 Kids please visit For more information on hosting your own 5K or any event please contact Preston Buckman at

Athletics Thursday, June 12th, 2014 Charles T. Myers Golf Course 8:30 am Shotgun Start

Trilithon cont... Later registrations cost $25, up to and including on event morning starting at 7:30 a.m. Register in person at the Aquatic Center, or mail the entry form. The triathlon is held in the Aquatic Center’s pool and on streets outside. Competition in swimming, biking, and running stretches over a course with ageappropriate distances. Separate competitions are held for boys and girls in age categories 8 and younger, 9-10, 1112, 13-14, and 15-17.

This event is named for Rodney Sellars, who has worked at the Aquatic Center as a supervisor since it opened in 1991 and has taught thousands of youngsters to swim. Sellars began the Great Kids Triathlon as a way to get kids involved in a fun and healthy activity. He was named County Employee of the Year in 2007.

Welcome to our new Recreation Specialists The Community and Recreation Center Services Division would like to welcome our newest team members, Abby Fowler and Brendan Cunliffe. We are very excited to have both fine professionals on board as Recreation Specialists, Abby at Southview Recreation Center and Brendan at Naomi Drenan Recreation Center.

Abby has a BS in Recreation Management from Appalachian State University and has been working with the department as an Athletic Assistant and has extensive experience as well from the YMCA in Boulder, CO.

Athletics Picketball Tournament On April 26th we held our First Annual Pickleball tournament at Jeff Adams Tennis Center inside of Renaissance Park. There were a total of 15 teams that participated in this event.

Athletics Youth Baseball Tournament On April 26 & 27, Park and Recreation hosted the Legends of the Spring youth baseball tournament at Nevins Park and Renaissance Park. There were a total of 143 teams that participated in this tournament.

Recreation Specialists cont... Brendan comes to us with a BS in Business Administration and Sports Management and has also been working in the department as an Athletic Assistant. Brendan has past experience as a Development Logistics Manager for a Baseball program in London, UK. Please join us in welcoming them to the department.

Men’s Over 30 The Men’s 30 & Over league will be closing out there winter season on Sunday May 4 th. The final games will be played at Bette Rae Rec Center.

Community Garden Tour Scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2014 The Mecklenburg County Fruit & Vegetable Coalition is hosting its 4th Annual Can You Dig It, Charlotte Community Garden Tour on Saturday, May 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at four diverse community locations. The event is FREE but the Coalition is requesting donations of garden supplies to be given to the gardens highlighted on the tour. Suggested donations include gardening gloves, shovels, seeds, garden hoses or whatever can be easily dropped off during the tour. Participants and tour goers will be enlightened by success stories from gardeners while learning basic gardening skills such as soil preparation, composting and how to start a community garden.

Nature Preserves and Natural Resources Natural Resources, together with Storm Water Services, handed out several thousand native loblolly pine seedlings at Bark in the Park and other events celebrating Earth Day. The trees were so popular that all 4000 seedlings were taken in less than a week. This will certainly be an annual event for NR.

Community & Recreation Center Services Major League Baseball "Pitch, Hit, & Run" On Sunday, April, 27, Sugaw Creek Recreation Center hosted their Second Annual Local Major League Baseball "Pitch, Hit, & Run" event. Participants competed within their age groups in three main skills areas for baseball and softball. Participants were timed in a run simulating a trip from second base to home plate, hitting a ball off of a tee for distance and accuracy, and pitching to a "strike zone" target trying to throw as many strikes as possible. The local winners will advance to the sectional competition in which the winners at that level will have the opportunity to compete in the "Team Championship" at Turner Field in Atlanta in June. The Team Champions will have the opportunity to compete at the National Finals at the MLB All- Star Game in Minneapolis, Minnesota and be on the field for the MLB Home Run Derby. For more information, contact<mailto:Brett.Krizanik@mecklenburgcounty> or 704-336-7655.

Garden, cont.… After the tour, the Mecklenburg County Fruit & Vegetable Coalition will host a Garden Gathering with lunch provided by Encore Catering. After lunch the garden tour participants are welcome to attend the Green Teacher Network workshop held at Garinger High School. For more information log on to Tour Schedule for Saturday May 3, 2014: 9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Oakhurst Community Garden 10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 8th Street Community Garden 10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Little Sugar Creek Community Garden 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Garinger High School Urban Farm

Nature Preserves and Natural Resources The Division of Nature Preserves and Natural Resources is responsible for the protection and conservation of Mecklenburg County's parks designated as Nature Preserves. Nature Preserves protect the county's biological resources and natural areas, while providing opportunities for environmental education, nature-based programs, and outdoor recreation. Our staff offer more than 5,000 programs annually, perform natural resource management, maintain more than 30 miles of nature trails, 6,500 acres, 3 nature centers, and a public campground.

Community & Recreation Center Services Hickory Grove T-Ball Division The Hickory Grove Recreation Center T-Ball teams (Reds and Braves) have just completed week 3 of the 2014 season and with significant improvements each week. With limited days of practice due to the rain, the coaches of these two teams, Coach Williams & Coach Chandler, have put in extra time to insure the 4-6 years are developing and learning basic skills to be successful to move on to coach pitch division (age 7-8). These coaches understand the true essence of what the program represents which in not winning, but about development. For more information, contact,<mailto:Derichard.McCoy@MecklenburgCoun> or 704-432-4811.

Community & Recreation Center Services Lead-HER-ship Conference The Lead-HER-ship conference held in Cary, North Carolina, April 9-11 was attended by Kelly Hawkins, Cara Helfer, Tiffany Peterson, Nikole Simmons, Calandra Barnes, and Andrea Cummings from Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation. The annual 3-day conference was hosted by the Town of Cary Parks and Recreation and the Recreation Resource Services. This conference is for the professional development of women in the Parks and Recreation field. Some of the topics covered included goal setting, accountability, leadership traits, and achieving success. Among the key speakers were Jan Geden, Director of the National Parks and Recreation Green School; Lydia Lavelle, Mayor of Carrboro; and Trudi Lacey, WNBA General Manager and Coach. The conference provided opportunities to learn new techniques and skills to be great leaders in their perspective recreation centers/ departments. By attending, these ladies were able to develop relationships with other professionals in their field of work and provide insight into what Mecklenburg County has to offer. Through networking, group speed sessions, and an open mic panel discussions, women from around North Carolina joined together to find out what it takes to make not only your organization thrive but also yourself. For more information on this conference,

2900 Rocky River Road Charlotte, NC 28215 Phone: 704-432-6459 Fax: 704-432-6461

15222 York Road Charlotte, NC 28278 Phone: 704-588-5224 Fax: 704-588-5226

6211 Sample Road Huntersville, NC 28078 Phone: 704-875-1391 Fax: 704-875-1394

4th Annual Hats off to Parks MAY 2, 2014 5pm-8pm To kick off the Inaugural RomareFest, Romare Bearden Park will host the Annual Hats Off to Parks. Funds raised will help Partners for Parks, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation and partners like you build a playground in memory of the youth and teachers lost in the Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy. Over 2,500 Volunteers will help complete the playground this October. Hats Off will feature wonderful food and desserts, cash bar, reverse raffle and entertainment by the Tams!

Community and Recreation Center Services Succeeding Together First Tee of Charlotte "Succeding Together" event kicked off Wednesday, April 29 at the Revolution Park Sports Academy. The purpose of the event was to promote literacy in children. Over 200 children and parents with First Tee attended the to listen to the PGA Tour Pros read with the young golfers. Each child wrote a journal entry about a coach or mentor that has been inspirational to them. The 5 PGA Tour Pros at the event, Webb Simpson, JJ Henry, Scott Langley, Morgan Hoffman, and Derek Ernst after the reading took the attendants to the chipping and putting area for a small clinic. For more information on this program and others contact Revolution Park Sports Academy at 704-432-4963.

Hats off contâ&#x20AC;Ś Tickets may be purchased by check or online at www.partnersforparks.o rg under the Hats Off to Parks donation fund. *Advance Admission and Raffle Tickets may be purchased before April 23rd to receive via mail. All other tickets must be purchased day of. **When purchasing advance tickets, please note in the Comment Section, the quantity of admission and raffle tickets to be purchased. For more information on the Hats Off to Parks Event or how to get involved with the Newtown, CT Memorial Playground Build, contact Lori Saylor at (704)3530504 or Lori.Saylor@Mecklenbur

Party in the Park Series This is a series of weekly performances featuring new and upcoming talent. The series will start May 7, 2014 and run through September. The series will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Cooking Up Quick and Nutritious Breakfast and Lunch Dishes Making healthy eating a priority every day should be a goal we all strive to attain. But often we have too many other priorities that get in the way. In this class, you will learn helpful tips and leave with recipes that will help you meet your healthy eating goals!

NAIA Cross Country Partnership and Bid Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Department is partnering with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority/Visit Charlotte to submit a bid for the 2015-2016 NAIA Men’s & Women’s Cross Country National Championships. The bid deadline is June 1, 2014 which is traditionally held on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. Sixtyfour (32 men/women) teams or 320 runners per gender and approximately 1500 fans will visit the selected city which could result in 500-550 room reservations. A 5K women’s course and an 8K men’s course with 4-6 finish line chutes and automatic timing equipment is required. For more information about the event and the bid contact Preston.Buckman@meckle

Residents Invited to Learn about Extension to Little Sugar Creek Greenway at Community Info Session

Aquatics Senior Games The Senior Games swim meet took place on Wednesday, April 30 from 9am - 12pm. 7 seniors participated in the event.

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation invites residents to learn about a 2-mile extension to Little Sugar Creek Greenway at a community information session on Monday, April 21, 2014.

The info session is at 6:00 p.m. at Queens University Sports and Conference Complex at Marion Diehl Park, 2219 Tyvola Road, Charlotte. The 2-mile extension will stretch from West Tyvola Road through Huntingtowne Farms Park. View map. For more information on Little Sugar Creek Greenway, click here

NC Select Camp One hundred eighteen (118) swimmers ages 14 & under participated in the NC Select Camp at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center, April 26 - 27. Swimmers worked on drills, starts, and individual strokes throughout the weekend.

Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful

2014 Powerade State Games Figure Skating Competition Registration closes at 11:59pm on May 4th! Get your registration in now before it is too late! This year's event will take place May 31 at Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, NC. Entry fees vary by event. NEW IN 2014! On-ice Parade of Athletes, International Judging System and a special award for the club/rink with the most participants!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY! OPENING CEREMONIES AT THE SPEEDWAY The Powerade State Games are excited to offer IJS for the first time at this year's competition! For a complete listing of all IJS events, please see the competition announcement. The club/rink with the most participants will receive a special award during this year's on-ice Parade of Athletes! The race is tight right now! Will your club be the one to walk away with prize?

Because of a partnership between Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful, Storm Water Services, and Park and Recreation it only took a few hours to make a big difference to the appearance of the Berryhill Nature Preserve. Volunteers gathered on a recent Saturday morning to clean up the preserve as part of The Great American Cleanup. They removed enough trash, recycling and debris to fill an eight -yard recycling can and 40 yard trash dumpster. The Great American Cleanup is coordinated locally by Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful. The three-month long event started March 1 and runs through May 31. Your efforts to improve your community will become a source of pride for everyone. You can register to participate here.

5841 Brookshire Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28216 (704) 336-8840

Recreate All Year! Subscribe to the Park and Recreation E-Newsletter to learn of new and exciting way sto continue recreating during the spring and summer months. Subscribe to the Park and Recreation E-Newsletter to stay up to date on activities that may be available to you. Please submit all news for the Friday Letter to your Division Director for review and routing. Park Partners may contact The Friday Letter Team at Kier. Harrison for publication assistance.

The Friday Letter Volume 3 • Issue 17 • May 2,2014

The first “Dine with Dena” is in the bag. The lunch bag, that is! On Wednesday, April 23, 13 County employees met at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center for lunch and casual conversation with County Manager Dena Diorio. “What a great opportunity it was for me to hear from staff about what’s going on all over the County,” said Diorio. “I took so much away from this first lunch. It makes me eager to hear more over the coming months.” Topics ranged from the Employee Climate Survey to County benefits to technology in the workplace. The conversation was full of flavor and the lunch was tasty too. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to Dine with Dena. The conversation was candid and engaging. I felt very comfortable expressing my thoughts and opinions,” said Park & Recreation Administrative Assistant Kier Harrison. The Dine with Dena lunch series booked up solid through December in the first days after it was announced. We’ll open more sessions in 2015 so look for a chance to sign up toward the end of the year.

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Senior Leadership Team Jim Garges, Director Michael Kirschman, Deputy Director James Alsop, Enterprise Services Renea Barber, Human Resources Mario Chang, Budget Administration Lee Jones, Capital Planning Lola Massad, Community and Recreation Center Services Jeff Robinson, Park Operations Chris Matthews, Nature Preserves and Natural Resources

The Friday Letter | May 2, 2014