The Guilford County Parks Department has a new director, Dwight Godwin, a man who’s been reinvigorating the Parks Department as its interim director since May of 2021.
The Parks Department was only broken off into its own department last year. Before that, it was lumped in with the Guilford County Facilities Department – and, for that reason, it was often neglected at the highest levels of Guilford County government.
However, now that it’s a stand-alone department with Godwin leading it, county residents will likely become a lot more cognizant of the county’s extensive parks system and the many attractions it has started to offer.
Godwin is no newbie to the parks business. He’s been working in Guilford County’s parks system since 2015. Before that, he amassed about a quarter of a century’s worth of parks and rec experience in Virginia and West Virginia.
Over the years, his responsibilities in various places have included parks operations, development, administration, recreation program oversight and event planning.
Godwin got his undergraduate degree in Park Management from Ferrum College – a private college in Virginia.
Godwin said that, when he’s not working with the parks, he likes tending to his yard and spending time with his two granddaughters.
In a prepared statement, Godwin noted: “I am very excited to continue working with a great group of people in the Parks Department! Guilford County’s commitment to excellence, professionally operated parks system and the supportive communities we serve are several reasons why I love to work here. We are a top destination spot not only for our parks but also our athletic fields, aquatic centers, camping, dog parks, fishing, golf course and driving range as well as our trails.”
Soon after Godwin became interim parks director, the system had a host of new offerings such as enhanced fireworks celebrations, guided hikes of Company Mill Preserve and other area parks attractions. New events have included bike rodeos, bike helmet giveaways, dog rabies clinics at Northeast Dog Park, and guided paddle boat tours at Southwest Park. There have also been tours of the Guilford County Farm, which used to be a prison farm and is now an open space park.
One very noticeable improvement of the county park system is the establishment of pickleball courts. The popularity of that sport has been spreading wildly, particularly among the more mature adults in the county.
A lot of other repairs and renovations have been taking place at the county’s parks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Godwin said he’s very proud of the fact that the department makes every effort “to promote inclusiveness in all areas of our department.”
With all the new love being given to the county’s parks, it’s a safe bet that area park goers will notice those improvements.
One headache Goodwin won’t have to worry about is fixing the kiddie train situation at Northeast Park. Unlike virtually every other local government that has tried, Guilford County found it impossible to get a kiddie train running at a park. Several years ago, the county threw in the towel on that effort after trying for nearly a decade and spending well over half a million dollars on the project.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the Guilford County Parks Department can visit GuilfordParks.com