HARRISONBURG — When Greg Corder saw that the city of Harrisonburg was seeking the public’s input on ways to make Purcell Park better, he saw it as an opportunity to teach his students about how to format and draft a memo.

The Thomas Harrison Middle School computer teacher had his seventh-grade class think about what they would do to improve Purcell Park. He then taught them how to draft a memo and the students typed it up. The answers will be submitted to the city for consideration.

It’s a win-win for both the students and the city, Corder said. The city gets some helpful suggestions and the students fulfill one of the state requirements for knowing how to draft a memo.

“It’s a fun, authentic assignment,” Corder said.

Alex Bingay is very familiar with Purcell Park. He lives in the neighborhood right next to the park, located off of U.S. 11. He likes to run there.

“I want more running trails. There are really only two that give you a good run,” he said.

Mckenna Dayton focused her suggestions on the baseball and softball fields. She’d like to see the fields refurbished and made a little nicer.

Mckenna has played Little League softball there and is on a traveling team called Aftershock that practices there as well.

Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation held a public forum on Thursday to gain input from those interested in redesigns and upgrades to Purcell Park.

Parks and Rec hired a consultant firm, LSG Landscape Architecture, to be a part of the process to make upgrades, but also to help the city develop a Master Plan for Purcell Park.

The city purchased 1.5 acres of land for the park, which consisted mostly of green space and a baseball field.

Over the years, more land was purchased and more additions were constructed. Now, the park’s features include three softball/baseball fields, a multi-purpose field, open green space, four tennis courts, basketball courts, a Kid’s Castle playground, three picnic areas with shelters, tables and grills, restrooms, a pond and a 1.5-mile walking trail that connects to the Bluestone Trail.After Parks and Rec staff collect the community input from the forum, they will have a workshop from 3 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the Kid’s Castle Playground to brainstorm ideas.

There will be a survey available at the Sept. 19 workshop for those to give ideas on changes to the park. The survey will also be available on the city’s Parks and Rec website in mid-October to November.

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272 or mwilliams@dnronline.com. Follow Megan on Twitter @DNR_Learn

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