Part 1 in a Series About Your Local Government
By Mason Lipman
The Rolesville Parks and Recreation Department has been around at least in the form of volunteers running an adult softball league since the 1960s and ’70s. Its director, J.G. Ferguson, has been at his current position considerably less time, but since he took the post in 2011, he has made great strides for both the department and the community.
Ferguson joined the department as the first athletic coordinator in 2007. Since becoming director, he has employed both Josh Bridges as the athletic coordinator and Ryan Vinson as the program coordinator. Aside from working as a supervisor and assistant to Bridges and Vinson in their work, the duties of the department director include working with the town budget and the management and caretaking of Rolesville’s parks: Main Street Park, Mill Bridge Nature Park and Rolesville Community School Park.
As the athletic coordinator, Bridges is responsible for organizing and managing Rolesville’s athletic programs, which include football, cheerleading, soccer, baseball, softball and adult softball. Athletics in Rolesville have grown in the years since Bridges became coordinator; this past spring saw 615 participants and 54 teams in baseball and softball, winter basketball last year had 350 kids and this fall 550 kids are participating in football and cheerleading. In recent years, the number of Rolesville residents participating in athletics has increased. The ratio of residents to non-residents is closer to 50:50 each year, which is in accord with Ferguson’s wish to “provide quality programs for Rolesville residents.”
Vinson, who was appointed to the position of program coordinator in 2014, has helped to cultivate community involvement in non-athletic programs, including Zumba and tai chi, several dance classes, and art classes consisting of drawing, whittling and woodcarving. A full list of the programs offered can be found on the Parks and Recreation department’s website, rolesvillenc.gov/town-departments/parks-recreation.
The process of creating new programs and events includes a survey that is sent out to Rolesville residents to gauge what possible programs they deem important and not important. In addition to the programs offered on a regular basis by the Parks and Recreation Department, Vinson is in charge of organizing day trips and annual events, including the popular Fall Fun Fest.
According to Vinson, the process of creating or bringing back past events, as in the case of the Fall Fun Fest, usually involves contacting all the vendors from years past to recruit them for the event. After vendor recruiting is done, the layout of the event must be planned and sent out to all the vendors, who then decide which spaces and how much space they need for the event.
Fall Fun Fest Moves to Become a Street Festival
This year’s Fall Fun Fest will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Main Street at Main Street Park instead of at the town hall building. The Fest will host 30 vendors and a variety of food trucks, and from 12-2 p.m., the Rolesville High School orchestra will provide music. Children ages 12 and under are encouraged to attend in costume and participate in the costume contest at 2 p.m.