Letter from the Executive Director

Parks are a tangible reflection of the quality of life in a community. They provide identity for citizens and are a major factor in the perception of quality of life in a given community. Parks and recreation services are often cited as one of the most important factors in communities voted to be most livable. EKU, College of Health Science, 2015

Dear Friends,

What an amazing year! As mentioned in previous reports, the focus of the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission (ICRC) is directed forward as we strive to provide great quality of life opportunities for the people in our community. Each year, we pause and shift our focus backward to review and understand what has been accomplished. This report is the culmination of that process, and it has been a pleasure to reflect on the expansive programs, services, and special events our agency offers this community. This year, ICRC well surpassed the two million visits within a single year milestone at our Parks!

As I consider this information, I am reminded of all of the wonderful stories that go along with the numbers in this report. I am also very proud of this year’s accomplishments, growth, and the great team at ICRC who creatively and genuinely worked so hard to make this another high performing, successful year.

The Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission turned 50 years old in January 2019. This major milestone kicked off a year-long celebration which will continue through January of 2020. I am overwhelmed to think about all of the great memories made and friendships forged during the past 50 years and excited for what the future will bring.

Participation wise, our Parks had another great year. If you add up the total Park visits district-wide, we significantly surpassed last year’s total by 268,730 visits. This is fantastic growth! We are so happy to see this growth and increased participation in our actively and passively programmed spaces. Afternoon Safari added two new in-school locations and is now serving more than 900 children per day. Holiday Lights on the River also had another wonderful year with more than 84,000 children and adults sharing this festive holiday tradition.

Another development milestone was accomplished with the help of the Saluda Shoals Foundation. The Foundation secured funding through donations and grants from more than 300 individuals, companies, and organizations needed to complete the $1.7 million Inclusive Playground at Saluda Shoals Park, recently named Leo’s Landing. This regionally significant project will be a wonderful offering that exemplifies the power of partnerships and is largely due to the community’s willingness to step in and get involved. We are very excited to see people of all ages and abilities out there playing together.

While the numbers are always important, it is the individual experiences and memories built by the people in our community that attest to the value of ICRC’s services and programs. I consider it an honor to serve this community and this agency. I hope to see you in the Parks soon!

Best regards,

Mark A. Smyers
Executive Director, Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission

ICRC 2018-19 Annual Report