People will choose to go or not go, but give them a choice

By / Letters to the Editor / Wednesday, 08 April 2020 16:29

To the Elected Officials of Carolina Beach,

Most of you know me, I have been a volunteer coach in this community for the last 8 years, I am sure at some point you have seen my son and I hitting balls at the fields, we have been hitting at those fields almost daily for the last 7 years.  I have a great relationship with the tremendous people at the CB Parks and Rec and the local leagues and their directors. They have always been more than accommodating to me and my children. In return we have always taken care of the parks like it was our own backyard.  Your decision to close the parks and fields just took all that away.  Mike Chappell is not a county park, you do not have to close the park.  100% agree --close the playgrounds, but not the fields or walking trails.  

My family and I take the Covid-19 situation very seriously.  To that end, understand we are making the best decisions we can with the information we have as it becomes available and that is right for our family.  Unfortunately, the world we are currently living in is not normal and these are not normal times for any of us.  The most difficult thing about our current situation is trying to maintain somewhat normal routines in these uncertain circumstances.  It seems we are so caught up with what the world is doing that we have lost sight of what we are doing as a community.  Monday you followed what the county said, you closed the parks.  As a result, why not follow what the county did at Hugh McRae and close only the playgrounds and post signs "no team activities on fields"?  Mike Chappell Park and the beaches mean so much to the heart of this island.  By you choosing to close Mike Chappell and the beaches you are essentially tearing the heart and soul out of this great community. 

The closing of the baseball fields and soccer fields, makes no sense to me.  Closing the fields takes away a father playing catch with their kids or a mother kicking a ball with their kids.  Two people playing catch from 20 feet apart is the very definition of social distancing.  In my mind, it just comes down to common sense.  Since all of this began, I have not seen teams practicing (not saying some have not, I just have not seen it) and we are there working almost daily.  I have seen families playing soccer, tennis, basketball, and baseball.  There is nothing wrong with that. We as a town need to practice common sense thinking as well as creative solutions to maintain the spirit of our island in this unprecedented time .  

My family and I love this island, we love and appreciate having a field to train and play on.  We love how the community is so united.  This is truly the most unique and special community that I have ever witnessed. There are reasons it is this way, it is because of the people in this town, they rally, they care, they communicate.

Hurricanes or viruses, this community will come out like they always do, together and stronger.  This town needs its heart, that heart is Mike Chappell and the beaches.  Do the right thing and open the fields, post signs stating no team practices and what ever else you feel is needed to properly and safely enforce social distancing.
I know you have what you think is in the towns best interest, but in this situation, you need to trust your citizens, the people that may or may not have voted for you to make the right decision for them and others.  Your citizens will do the right thing, limit gatherings, keep to small groups, and follow the guidelines. 

People will choose to go or not go, but give them a choice.

This may not be a popular email, I am sure some will not agree, I am okay with that.  I will support your final decision, I may not agree, but I will support it.

Thank you again to the team at the CB Rec Center, Parks and Rec, and PIYB, without your dedication to the programs and the facilities I would not have a Park to fight for.

Mark Mehling
CB Local, Coach,


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