County parks cut hours, library cuts programs

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Starting today, tightening budgets will cause Rowan County’s parks to close a bit earlier and its libraries will skip some annual events.
Earlier this year, the county asked each of its departments to make a 4 to 5 percent budget cut, adding up to a reduction of more than $2 million for the county budget. It was up to the department heads to decide how to make those cuts.
When contacted by the Post, several departments said the reductions will stretch them thin but should not affect services they provide in the coming year.
But the Parks and Recreation Department and Rowan Public Library have made some changes the public will notice.
Library Director Jeff Hall said the library is reducing some of its programming in fiscal year 2011-12, which begins today.
“We will not be doing Salisbury-Rowan Reads program this summer,” Hall said. “It’s a one-day reading festival we hold in each of the municipalities.”
In addition, Rowan Public Library will not hold the Jackie Torrence storytelling festival in Granite Quarry this year or be one of the sponsors of the Summer Reading Challenge.
Hall said the library also reduced money spent on supplies and audiovisual materials and eliminated one part-time position at the circulation desk.
Don Bringle, county parks director, said the Parks and Recreation Department cut one maintenance position by not filling it after an employee retired.
In addition, Dan Nicholas Park will no longer offer discounted or free camping to senior citizens but will honor any reservation made before today.
“We also are closing our parks earlier throughout the year beginning July 1 on weekdays, Monday through Friday,” Bringle said. “On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays we’ll be maintaining normal hours.”
From June through September, the parks will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. From January through May and October through December, park hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attractions open at 10 a.m. and close one hour before the park closes.
These hours do not apply to Dunn’s Mountain Park, which will no longer be open on Wednesdays, or Eagle Point Nature Preserve.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.