Dix Park press conference

Being Raleigh’s Parks board chair, I have a great interest in making Dix Campus into a park. This morning I learned of an afternoon news conference by Dix Visionaries and wrote my friend Bill Padgett to get the details so I could attend.

The presser was on the Dix campus and I arrived in a suit. A gaggle of press were there setting up and I began to chat with the assembled dignitaries. There were big names there: Jim Goodmon, Anne Goodnight, Greg Poole, Bill Padgett, Jay Spain, Susan Bowers. I was there just a supporter but these folks had done a lot of work to get where we are today.
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SeeClickFix user suggests beautifying greenway sewer pipes

I experienced the beauty of SeeClickFix today when an anonymous user suggested the city spiff up the ugly concrete sewer pipe towers along our city’s greenways:

The concrete sewage vents could use some beautifying. Maybe you could hire a graffiti artist to paint nature scenes?

Another citizen chimed in:

Juanita Martinez (Guest)

I agree! That’s a wonderful idea. These things are ugly, I know they are necessary, but painting some nature scenes or something unique to Raleigh on them would make them interesting. I bet you could even get folks to do it for free. Maybe you could have a contest too and offer a simple prize.

Then the city responded:

City of Raleigh

I’d recommend directing your suggestion to the Raleigh Arts Commission (http://www.raleighnc.gov/arts/content/BoardsCommissions/Articles/ArtsCommission.html). This citizen group can be helpful in developing this idea into a possible project. As with most things there is more than meets the eye in any project involving public property, but the Arts Commission is made up of citizens whose task it is to involve the arts in everything we do. They can be very helpful!

SeeClickFix can often be used to point out what’s wrong with the city. This ticket shows how the service can also act as a big suggestion box, allowing ordinary citizens a way to help shape our city. More of this, please!

High Bridge Trail State Park

High Bridge Trail State Park

I write this from cabin 4 of Twin Lakes State Park, located near Farmville, VA. It’s Saturday evening, November 24th, 2012 around 8:49 PM. Kelly and I are here alone tonight, the kids preferring to sleep in their grandparents’ cabin a few meters away from ours. As there is no Internet access here (nor no phones), I am writing this to post later.

We’ve been here since the day after Thanksgiving, having felt the urge to go camping one more time this year but not having the guts to tough out another camping trip when temperatures dip to the mid-20s in the morning. Cabins proved to be a good compromise, with the added bonus that Twin Lakes is closer to home for we Turners (we spent Thanksgiving with Kelly’s parents in Warrenton this year).
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Raleigh Aquatics to do away with punch passes

At tonight’s Parks and Rec Fees and Charges committee meeting, I learned that the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Aquatics program plans to do away with the popular punch passes. The passes allow 15 swims apiece but will be phased out beginning in January.

Aquatics director Terry Stroupe said the goal is to get people moved to the monthly and annual passes, which offer greater savings. I believe there is also an issue with the new “class” system and swipe cards not being able to support the punch-pass type of transaction.
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The Daylight Saving Time Fog

I was on the agenda for yesterday’s City Council meeting. Lately I’ve been done with these in about an hour. This session had a few more detailed items for discussion, however, and I waited in the audience long enough that I began to lose focus.

It seemed like I wasn’t the only one with this affliction. Maybe I was seeing things through sleepy eyes but to me the whole room seemed remarkably devoid of energy.

An amusing parade then began at the Council table. City Attorney Tom McCormick, a man who usually stays glued to his seat lest the Councilors get themselves into legal hot water while unsupervised, quietly stepped away from the table and out of the room, returning after a few minutes. I’m not sure why Tom stepped away, obviously, but I do know that it’s very rare for him to do so.
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Raleigh’s System Plan project

The City of Raleigh just created a video encouraging citizens to get involved with the upcoming System Planning project, where the Parks department will be creating a vision for our city’s parks for the next decades. It’s another one of the city’s dazzling videos about our wonderful parks. You can also catch a glimpse of me around the 56 second mark.

Find out more about the System Plan effort at the Your Parks Your Future website.

Mark Turner: Horse sense – Letters – NewsObserver.com

My letter to the editor ran in today’s N&O.

Horse sense

Contrary to what the N.C. GOP would have you believe, you won’t find any horses on Raleigh’s 80 miles of beautiful greenways. What you will find are citizens of all political stripes appreciating one of Raleigh’s more popular and unique amenities.

While the N.C.GOP has backed off a bit for implying Sig Hutchinson “raised taxes” (which is, um, interesting as he’s never held public office before), it has not apologized for insulting our city by calling greenways “horse trails.”

(Looks like they didn’t fix my typo, where I wrote “support” instead of “supported.” Oh well.)

via Mark Turner: Horse sense – Letters – NewsObserver.com.

“Horse trails” letter to the editor

The N.C. GOP sent out mailers against candidate for state senate Sig Hutchinson in which they called Raleigh’s greenways “horse trails.” Well, being the chair of the Parks board, I don’t take kindly to that so I wrote a letter to the editor this morning. With any luck it will run tomorrow:

Contrary to what the N.C. GOP would have you believe, you won’t find any horses on Raleigh’s 80 miles of beautiful greenways. What you WILL find are citizens of all political stripes appreciating one of Raleigh’s more popular and unique amenities.

That’s why our citizens have consistently and enthusiastically supported the parks bonds, the same ones shepherded by Sig Hutchinson and other civic and business leaders. Our voters know these parks and greenways are a savvy investment in the health and well-being of our citizens (and future generations as well). These are benefits that even former city councilor Neal Hunt couldn’t say “neigh” to.

Mark Turner
Chair, Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation, and Greenway Advisory Board

(And with any luck, the N&O will fix my typos!)

Bye bye, Mordecai Historic Park Advisory Board

Mordecai House

On Tuesday, Raleigh City Council officially dissolved the Mordecai Historic Park Advisory Board and created a new board called the Historic Resources and Museum Advisory Board. I served on the Mordecai board (MHPAB) as the Parks board liaison for over three years, or half of the Mordecai board’s existence. The last year I served as vice-chair.

The abrupt dissolution of the board hits a little hard. The Mordecai house has stood longer that any other home in Raleigh. It has seen people come and go. Still, the boardmembers with which I served were all extraordinarily passionate about the Mordecai house and to promoting its mission. I will miss that cozy association.
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