Eastern Wake News

Knightdale Parks and Rec offers Citizen’s Academy

Glen Galloway and Devyn Miller play in the sand at Harper Park in Knightdale on May 24, 2012. Residents here want more recreation opportunities but it's unclear whether there's enough support to pass a bond referendum that would accelerate the completion of the forthcoming 70-acre park on First Avenue.
Glen Galloway and Devyn Miller play in the sand at Harper Park in Knightdale on May 24, 2012. Residents here want more recreation opportunities but it's unclear whether there's enough support to pass a bond referendum that would accelerate the completion of the forthcoming 70-acre park on First Avenue. aspecht@newsobserver.com

When the annual Christmas tree event lights without a flaw, or the food truck rodeo and summer movie night series draws hundreds of people, residents might take it for granted.

But how events come together behind the scenes is a totally different story. Beginning March 10, Knightdale Parks & Recreation will host their first Citizen Parks and Recreation Academy, where a select group of residents can take a comprehensive tour through what the department undertakes on a daily basis.

The academy is a four-event, free course that will take place the evenings of March 10, March 17, March 31 and Saturday morning, March 28. Participants will learn about the department’s budgeting process, event planning and take a site tour.

On March 10, registered attendees will take the town bus for a facility tour and learn about the various programs the department offers, as well as meet the staff. They will also start a budgeting exercise to complete at the next session, and offer input about improvements to each facility.

The session on March 17 will focus on budgeting and event programming, and on March 28, participants will assist with the annual Easter Egg Hunt or Paws in the Park to experience the role of the department in large, town-wide events.

“They’ll help set up, some of the not-as-fun part, but also see the end result,” said Knightdale Parks and Recreation Director Tina Cheek.

Finally, the academy will conclude on March 31st with information on drafts and skills evaluations for athletic programs – and will end with a game of kickball or dodgeball.

“The game is the end result of all the planning. They’ll be able to see the whole thing,” Cheek said.

The town’s public safety and planning departments had previously held similar academies. Cheek said that she would love to see graduates of the program become volunteers or spark interest in serving on the Parks and Recreation advisory board, but it’s more about general involvement.

“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and it gives people an idea of what we do and what we struggle with, like prioritizing needs with only so many dollars,” she said. “It’s really important for us to have citizens that are engaged, and this a way to do that.”

Spring events

For the second year, Paws in the Park will host a furry frenzy at Knightdale Station Park, Saturday, March 28 at 9:30 a.m. For this Easter hunt, the eggs will be filled with treats, and “golden eggs” will earn a grand prize.

The first 100 canines will receive a Frisbee and a goodie bag, and can pose with the Easter bunny. Event organizers ask that dogs be leashed, non-aggressive and have up-to-date rabies tags or certificate.

After the pups are worn out, their little people will take over the field for the 2015 Easter Eggstraordinaire event at 11 a.m. Children can participate in one of three egg dashes for ages zero-3, 4-5, and 6-8, and also take photos with the Easter bunny and enjoy snacks.

Bettis: 919-829-4826;

Twitter: @easternwakenews

Sign up for the academy:

When: Tuesday, March 10th, 17th and 31st (6:30-8:30p), and Saturday, March 28th-Paws in the Park (8:30-10) or Saturday, March 28th-Easter Eggstraordinaire (10-12pm)

Where: Knightdale Town Hall

To register: contact Michelle Wester at 919.217.2232 or michelle.wester@knightdalenc.gov. Participation is limited to the first 24 registrants.

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