CLAYTON, N.C. — Johnston County is one of the fastest growing counties in the country. But there is one area where it is falling behind: public parks and recreation facilities.
Most county residents live outside city limits in areas where recreational facilities are in short supply. People who live outside city limits only have a few choices, like school facilities or driving into town.
Johnston County is in the midst of a recreation facilities study. The first phase, which has been completed, involved taking a complete inventory of all recreation facilities in the county. The second phase will be more focused on a needs assessment.
County officials will be holding seven community meetings in the next two months to gather ideas and input from interested citizens.
The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday at Meadow Fire Department. All the meetings are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and end by 8:30 p.m.
County residents' needs only will increase if the county continues to grow at its current rate. Johnston County is the 75th-fastest growing county in the country. In 2000, the county had a population of 122,000 people. Today, it is 142,000 -- a 16-percent increase.
People who live in surrounding counties have plenty of park facilities at their disposal.
Wake County and Cumberland County each oversee six parks. Orange County has five, and Durham County runs two.
That is in addition to the dozens of city- and town-run parks in each county.