Ncpr conference presentation

The Land Planning and Recreation Team Share Knowledge at the 2023 North Carolina Parks and Recreation Directors Conference

Thought leadership is a vital part of any industry. At McGill, we thrive on shaping communities through a variety of ways, including exchanging ideas and sharing knowledge on topics of expertise. This year at the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Directors Conference, we not only attended and sponsored this impactful and valuable event, but we were also able to share our knowledge on public input — a topic that is important to communities and community leaders alike.

What is the North Carolina Municipal and County Parks and Recreation Directors Conference?

The Recreation Resource Service’s (RRS) North Carolina Parks and Recreation Directors Conference is an annual education and networking event for North Carolina’s park and recreation directors. The conference mission, since establishment in 1947, is to bring department directors together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for improving parks and recreation both within their own departments and the state. Support for the conference from directors, retired directors, and partners from parks and recreation departments at North Carolina universities have maintained its relevance and purpose 75 years later.

McGill’s approach to land planning and recreation projects is in alignment with the RRS vision, as our primary intention is to ensure that communities are given opportunities to thrive, and that every individual within that community feels heard and welcome to enjoy the outcomes of our efforts.

An Opportunity to Meet with Park Directors, Make Connections, and Be Thought Leaders

This conference provided a great platform to meet with our current clients, establish relationships with potential new clients, and provide a valuable presentation on public input, which gave us an opportunity to be seen by all conference participants. As a relationship-driven organization, we welcome any chance to interact with key decision makers from municipalities across North Carolina.

Luann bryan: expert on parks and recreation fundingLuAnn Bryan, a project consultant on McGill’s land planning and recreation team, said, “I am so very appreciative of the opportunity afforded us to be part of the NC Directors Conference. The opportunity to visit with friends and meet new directors is an opportunity that is much appreciated by us at McGill.”

Just as our staff enjoys making connections with directors at conferences, we also seek to design and construct spaces with the community in mind. Whether it’s a greenway trail, bike lane, city corridor, or local park, the overall objectives are always the same — to understand the needs and wants of residents and visitors in order to create spaces that seamlessly blend with the natural environment and provide the individuals utilizing those spaces with opportunities to connect with one another.

McGill Projects are Designed by the Community — Not for the Community

North carolina parks and recreation directors conferenceDuring the conference, Jim Ford, LuAnn Bryan, and Nate Halubka of the land planning and recreation team led a thoughtful presentation which outlined McGill’s approach to public input and outreach. McGill believes that successful recreation planning requires participation and feedback from the people we serve. The role of community engagement in the planning process is to not only hear about the wants of the public but also gauge the needs and areas of concern that should be considered. Knowing this, residents respond well in seeing that community leaders and planning firms care about what they think.

During every project, McGill develops a unique process to engage the community. This includes an examination of past planning efforts, appropriately advertising and holding multiple public meetings, and assessing meeting minutes to share findings with the public. To reach those who cannot be present during the established meeting times, online and handout surveys are provided to gather more information from a larger and broader group. We also include other tactics like focus groups, stakeholder meetings, popup events, design charettes, and even sometimes utilize a temporary project page through the municipal or county recreation department website. All of these avenues create a wide range of opportunities to gather input in an inclusive and appropriate manner. The McGill team values opinions from every avenue when creating a project that will be utilized by all ages and abilities.

Contact Us and Learn More

Mike norris, plaIf you would like to know more about how we can assist you with your next parks and recreation project, contact McGill Director of Land Planning and Recreation Mike Norris, PLA, at


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