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Volunteer for 'Park-nership'

In November 2004, Gwinnett County voters passed a four-year extension of the 1 percent SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax). $180 million of the expected $550 million in revenue is earmarked for parks.

Gwinnett now has a total park acreage of 7,781. Park multi-purpose trails now top the public want list in every survey that Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation has conducted lately. We now have more than 62 miles of park trails - longer than Interstate 285 - and more are planned.

There is something for everyone with Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation's offerings. The range of options is almost endless - a dog park, nature hikes, lunchtime concerts, kids' dinosaur camp, hip-hop dance camp, six county swimming pools that last year had roughly 400,000 visitors, horseshoe pits, shuffleboard courts, permanent chess and checker boards, outdoor movie screenings, skate parks and fishing areas. The mission of Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation is to provide quality parks and leisure activities to the citizens of Gwinnett County. GCPR manages 30 parks sites with 16 more scheduled for future development.

One of the latest additions to the park system inventory occurred in April of this year. GCPR opened Vines Gardens. Seventeen acres of the park are now open to the public and it is a great addition to our passive park inventory. There is another 54 acres that will be developed in the future, giving us 70 more total park acres.

The Gwinnett Parks Foundation, along with GCPR, is recruiting volunteers now to help with beautification projects at two parks - Vines Gardens and Ronald Reagan Park - and will host a planned "Park-nership" workday on Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon. Tools and equipment are needed, and donations are encouraged by the community. Call Kim Joens, with GCPR, at 770-822-8813.

Groups or individuals can sponsor the event or sign on by filling out the work application on the Gwinnett Parks Foundation Web site at www.gwinnetparkfoundation.org. Anyone who wants to "get involved" is welcome! So mark your calendars for volunteering on Oct. 15!

John Snyder is a board member of the Gwinnett Parks Foundation.