The Next Big Thing
The Next Big Thing in Parks and Recreation was a team-building exercise that challenged our staff to think way outside the box to come up with a unique parks and recreation idea based in the concept of favorite childhood play experiences. This idea, spun from group brainstorming, could manifest in a program, concept, special event or capital improvement project. What resulted were six fantastically wild and innovative concepts that we hope to implement in the near Lynchburg future. 
Special thanks to our honored guest judges, JoAnn Martin, Kent White, and Donna Witt!

Next Big Thing Project Ideas


Picture2The Happy PLAYce

Group members: Katie Sandage, Jennifer Kennedy, Dave Owen, Debbie Hoffbeck

The riverfront in downtown Lynchburg is envisioned as a park and open space that includes natural and recreation areas.  As the stormwater management construction project nears completion, Riverfront Park will soon be ready for re-development. The current master plan for Riverfront Park includes spaces for events, a new playground, and  links to the Blackwater Creek and Percival’s Island walking and biking trails.  Based on the premise that playgrounds aren’t just for kids, this group envisions a gathering space and destination playground for all ages and all abilities, inviting people to walk, sit, stay, and play. The proposed Happy PLAYce in Riverfront Park invokes a feeling of play, whimsey, and imagination with a modern, colorful, art-inspired playspace, inviting everyone to gather and have fun!  


Best-Cider-Mills-U-Pick-Orchards-and-Family-Farm-Activities-in-Southeast-MichiganUrban Orchard

Group members: Charlotte Lester, Andy Reeder, John Ramsey, Maggie Mace, Vic Williams

This group focused on urban agriculture. The vision includes installation of an orchard – with a variety of fruit trees, bushes and vines – that is accessible to all and will provide fresh, locally-produced food, educational and social-gathering opportunities to citizens of all neighborhoods and socio-economic groups in the city. *Note: we are currently looking for funders for this project. Interested? Call Jenny Jones at (434) 455-5868. 


wisconsin-dells-zipline1James River Park

Group members: Beth Jones, Ashley Kershner, Jason Burger, Allyson McSwain

Lynchburg is coming a thriving, culturally vibrant city, but is lacking one important thing: access to the James River. This group proposed a new park along the James, on land currently owned and undeveloped by the City on Concord Turnpike. The proposed James River Park would include a riverfront boardwalk with overlooks,  meandering walking paths with benches, a classic carousel, gardens, a small amphitheater, a food are equipped for temporary vendors with seating area, and a playground. But that’s just phase one. Phase two of this proposed project includes an adventure park on Percival’s Island where kids and adults can climb rock walls, hang out in tree houses, and swing across the James on a zip line!


Group members: Arthur Sales, Tamara Parker, Tamara Reynolds, Charles Youell, Desiree Ferguson

This team created a new concept for Miller Park. The updates include a 3 ft. deep lazy river, reconstruction of the existing water slide, pvt fencing artful inserts, and remodeled bathrooms in the pool area. In addition, a botanical garden area near the Aviary would provide an outside venue for special gatherings such as weddings, birthdays, reunions and also serve as a place to reflect and rejuvenate. These projects will add value to Miller Park and serve the community in a new way.


Picture3Mobile Activity Center

Group members: Lynn Fox, Tammy Scearce, Charles Ripley, Doug Harvey, Michael Lyons, Howard Covey, Sue Matherly, Tremayne Edwards 

Increase community engagement by providing cost effective, quality recreation to under served areas of Lynchburg and offer all people the opportunity to participate in a rich variety of recreational activities.  Transform an ordinary bus into a Mobile Activity Center taking recreation to locations where participants ages 6-15 can have fun, learn and express themselves through art, movement and music. *Note: we are currently looking for funders for this project. Interested? Call Jenny Jones at (434) 455-5868. 



Miller Park Enhancements

Group members: Monet Mickles Jennifer Foreman, Sharon Brown, Joanna Nisbet

This group also decided to focus on improvements to Miller Park. Their proposal included new water slides for the Olympic-size swimming pool, an array of colorful water spray fountains for the kiddie area, and installation of ADA seating and ADA water spray fountains. In addition,  free-standing musical instruments would be installed around the pool for musical engagement. But the biggest and most exciting component in this proposal would be the year-round ice rink!